Astronomy Picture of the Day
January 3, 2014

The Hazy Limb of Titan (Part I)
The Hazy Limb of Titan (Part I)

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

Titan's high Haze Layers are always (and simply) amazing: the NASA - Cassini Spacecraft captured this detailed view of the (relatively) faint Haze that can be found in Titan's Upper Atmosphere, as it receded from its Close Encounter with this fascinating Saturnian moon, which occurred on March 31, 2005. However, similar examples of such a complex structures found in Titan's High Haze Layers have already been observed in the past by Cassini. These observations, in time, will help us to reveal (probably in a still distant future) the Atmospheric Processes which are responsible for the formation of the numerous Layers of Haze that, by the way, have been discovered and studied so far in the Upper Atmosphere of Titan, and how their inner structure and behavior can change on (both) daily, and seasonal Time Scales.

The image was taken with the NASA - Cassini Spacecraft Narrow-Angle Camera using a Spectral Filter sensitive to Wavelengths of UltraViolet Light centered at 338 nanometers, and at a distance of about 102.320 Km (such as a little less than 63.541 miles) from Titan. The image scale is roughly 600 meters (such as approx. 1967,99 feet) per pixel.

This frame (which is an Original NASA - CASSINI Spacecraft's b/w and NON Map-Projected image published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 06224) has been additionally processed, contrast enhanced, magnified to aid the visibility of the details, Gamma corrected and then colorized - according to an educated guess (or, if you wish, an informed speculation) carried out by Dr Paolo C. Fienga - 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 Upper Atmosphere 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 other things, the existence of different Elements (Gases) 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 Upper Atmosphere of Titan - as it is in this frame - would appear, to an average human eye, a little bit lower than it has been shown (or, better yet: interpreted) here.

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