Astronomy Picture of the Day
August 14, 2014

Lakes and Clouds
Lakes and Clouds

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

As the NASA - Cassini Spacecraft sped away from Titan following a relatively close Fly-By, its cameras monitored the moon's North Polar Regions, capturing signs of renewed Cloud Activity. In fact, the Cassini Scientists noted a decrease in Clouds everywhere on Titan after a large Storm that occurred on this moon during the AD 2010, and then expected the Clouds to return sooner in the Titanian Skies (note: this - obviously wrong - assumption was based on a computer model of Titan's restless Atmosphere).


A more attentive and continuous monitoring of these Regions of Titan should help the Cassini Scientists to determine if this specific Clouds' appearance signals the beginning of some kind of Summer Weather Patterns, or if it is just an isolated event. A streak of (probably) Methane-rich Clouds can be seen here, near the center of the frame, and right over the large Titanian Methane Sea known as Ligeia Mare. An image taken on July 21, 2014, using the NASA - Cassini Spacecraft's Narrow-Angle Camera was reprojected to create this Orthogonal View.


This frame (which is an Original NASA - CASSINI Spacecraft's b/w Orthogonal image published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 18421) 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 North Polar Regions 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 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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