Astronomy Picture of the Day
June 24, 2014

Subtle Atmospherical Features
Subtle Atmospherical Features

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

Only a sharp and careful eye can make out the subtle variations in the Titanian Clouds when viewed in Visible Light. However, these subtle Atmospheric Features - sometimes - become more readily apparent when imaged at other Wavelengths. For instance, this Near-InfraRed image clearly reveals some sort of a "Dark Band" around Titan's North Pole. Cassini Scientists are regularly monitoring Titan, hoping to understand more about its extremely dense Atmosphere and Clouds.

This view looks toward the Leading Side of Titan; North is up and rotated 31° to the left (Sx). The image was taken with the NASA - Cassini Spacecraft Narrow-Angle Camera on January 26, 2014 using a Spectral Filter which preferentially admits Wavelengths of Near-InfraRed Light centered at 889 nanometers. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 1,5 Million Miles (such as about 2.414.010 Million KiloMeters) from Titan. The image scale is roughly 9 miles (such as about 14,48 Km) 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 17168) 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 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 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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