Earth-like Cirrus Clouds Found on Titan

Titan peeks from behind two of Saturn’s rings. Another small moon Epimetheus, appears just above the rings. Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

It seems Titan is getting more Earth-like all the time. There are lakes, rainfall (never mind that any liquids on Titan are frigid hydrocarbons), dust storms, lightning and all sorts of other activity going on it the atmosphere, along with clouds. And now, not just any clouds but cirrus clouds, very similar to what we have on Earth: thin, wispy clouds of ice particles high in the atmosphere. A team of researchers at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center say that unlike Titan’s brownish haze, the ice clouds are pearly white.

“This is the first time we have been able to get details about these clouds,” said Robert Samuelson, an emeritus scientist at Goddard and the co-author of a new paper published in the journal Icarus. “Previously, we had a lot of information about the gases in Titan’s atmosphere but not much about the [high-altitude] clouds.”

(…) Read the rest of Earth-like Cirrus Clouds Found on Titan (415 words)

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(C) nancy for Universe Today, 2011. | Permalink | 5 comments | Add to Post

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