Nasa's Cassini beams back images of cloud bands streaking across Titan's hazy atmosphere

Nasa's Cassini spacecraft has beamed back images of cloud bands streaking across Titan, a moon of Saturn. The bright, feathery clouds are made up of Methane. The dark spots in the polar regions are the hydrocarbon lakes. Cassini has previously captured a time lapse video of the streaks of Methane clouds, which move at high speeds between five to seven meters a second. Titan is the largest moon of Saturn, and the prevailing winds blow from east to west.

Cassini has made one final close flyby to Titan, in a slingshot maneuver that initiated the final series of dives around Saturn. This image was captured on May 7, just before Cassini began the third of its "Grand Finale" dives. The image was captured during a distant flyby, and the spacecraft will continue to observe Titan over the duration of the final set of dives. There is not enough fuel for Nasa to maintain control of the spacecraft, and Cassini is going to crash into Saturn to prevent contamination of its moons, which may harbour life.

An unprocessed image taken during the final maneuver of Cassini around Titan. Image: Nasa.

An unprocessed image taken during the final maneuver of Cassini around Titan. Image: Nasa.

There are several distant flybys scheduled for Titan, so we can expect more images of the moon with a hazy atmosphere. Cassini has taken several images of Titan, and the raw files are available on the Nasa sub site for Cassini. The images are unprocessed, and are publicly available. The Cassini mission is a collaboration between Nasa, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Italian Space Agency (ASI).


Published Date: May 12, 2017 08:35 am | Updated Date: May 12, 2017 08:35 am