Astronomy Picture of the Day
January 4, 2014

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

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

Multiple Upper Stratospheric Haze Layers are evident in this Absolute Natural Colors view taken by the NASA - Cassini Spacecraft and looking toward Titan's South Pole. The alternating bright and dark Bands that we see here might have been be due to differing Haze concentrations produced by what could be Gravity Wave Motions (---> in other words: the Atmospheric equivalent of Ripples on a Pond) or, perhaps, they were the evidence of Shadows cast by Haze Layers moving upward, as other Waves passed by, in the Upper Atmosphere of Titan. East-to-West Waves - suggestive of other Wave Motions - can also - and easily - be seen in these Layers.

This image was taken with the NASA - Cassini Spacecraft Narrow Angle Camera on February 14, 2005, through a Spectral Filter sensitive to Wavelengths of Polarized UltraViolet Light centered at 338 nanometers. The picture was acquired at a distance of approximately 151.000 Km (such as about 93.771 miles) from Titan and at a Sun-Titan-CASSINI Spacecraft, or Phase, Angle of 20°; the Resolution in the frame is roughly 900 meters (such as approx. 2952 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 06182) 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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