Astronomy Picture of the Day
March 13, 2013

White Clouds and Orange Haze
White Clouds and Orange Haze

Credits: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute - Credits for the additional process. and color.: Dr Paolo C. Fienga/Lunar Explorer Italia/IPF

The frigid Saturnian moon Titan, once again, proved itself as a remarkably complex and dynamic world: here, in fact, bright whitish Clouds can be seen encircling the moon's North Polar Regions. Even though they are not visible in this picture, the NASA - Cassini Spacecraft has also revealed, as you know, the presence of great Lakes and Seas of Liquid Hydrocarbons on this part of Titan's Surface (as well as in its South Polar Regions) and these Clouds - possibly Methane-rich Clouds, with particles of water-ice - may be related to the presence, down onto the Titanian Surface, of huge amounts of liquids. Furthermore, an extremely extended, high-altitude brown-orange Haze hovers above the Limb of Titan and it can be easily seen at the top of the image.

The frame was taken with the NASA - Cassini Spacecraft Narrow-Angle Camera on April 26, 2008, using a spectral filter sensitive to wavelengths of InfraRed Light centered at 938 nanometers. The view was acquired at a distance of approx. 786.000 Km (such as about 488.106 miles) from Titan; the mage scale is roughly 5 Km (a little more than 3 miles) per pixel

This picture (which is an Original NASA - Cassini Spacecraft b/w frame published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal and identified by the n. PIA 10434) has been additionally processed and then colorized, according to an educated guess carried out by Dr Paolo C. Fienga (LXTT-IPF), in Absolute Natural Colors (such as the colors that a human eye would actually perceive if someone were onboard the NASA - Cassini Spacecraft and then looked outside, towards the North Polar Region of the Saturnian moon Titan), by using an original technique created - and, in time, dramatically improved - by the Lunar Explorer Italia Team. Different colors, as well as different shades of the same color, mean, among others, the existence of different Elements present in the Atmosphere of Titan, each having a different Albedo (---> Reflectivity) and Chemical Composition.

Note: it is possible (but we, as IPF, have no way to be one-hundred-percent sure of such a circumstance), that the actual luminosity of the Clouds and Hazes (as well as the luminosity of Titan itself) seen in this frame would appear, to an average human eye, way lower than it has been shown (or, better yet: interpreted) here.

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