Astronomy Picture of the Day
February 16, 2015

The Shoreline of Kraken Mare
The Shoreline of Kraken Mare

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

This truly suggestive NASA - Cassini Spacecraft's Synthetic Aperture Radar (or even "SAR", for short) image that we are pleased to show you in today's APOD, is presented as a Perspective View and it shows a Landscape located near the Eastern Shoreline of Kraken Mare (an Hydrocarbon Sea found in Titan's s North Polar Region). This image was processed by using a special digital technique finalized to minimize noise (---> image defects or artifacts) that resulted in a clearer view of the imaged area that can be easier, for Planetary Researchers, to interpret. The technique, called "Despeckling", it is also useful for producing Altimetry Data and 3-D Views of the Region called "Digital Elevation Maps".

Planetary Scientists have even used a special technique (called "Radargrammetry") to determine the Altitude of the Surface Features visible in this view at a resolution of approximately 0,5 miles (such as about 0,804 Km) per picture element. Said that, the Altimetry reveals that the Area is smooth overall, with a maximum amplitude of 0,75 miles (such as approx. 1,2 Km) in height. The Topography also shows that all the observed Channels flow downhill.

The presence of what Planetary Scientists call "Knickpoints" (---> locations on a River where a sharp change in the Slope occurs) might indicate the presence of Stratification in the Bedrock, Erosional Mechanisms at work, or a particular way that the Surface of Titan responded to the so-called "Runoff Events", such as Floods, following EXTREMELY large Storms.

One of such Knickpoints is visible just above the lower left (Sx) corner of the frame, where an area of bright Slopes can be seen. This image was obtained during a Fly-By of Titan which occurred on April 10, of the AD 2007.

This frame (which is an Original NASA - CASSINI Spacecraft's b/w and Perspective Viewed Radio-image published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 19051) 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 (---> Minerals and so forth) which are present on the Surface 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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