Friday, August 15, 2014

Summer Storms are Blowin on Titan

Computer models have long predicted the onset of storms in the atmosphere of Saturn's moon Titan.

NASA's Cassini spacecraft has finally been able to capture these storm clouds over Titan's  northern sea  Ligeia Mare.  The storm being tracked was producing very Earthlike winds of  7 to 10 mph.

Storm clouds have been documented on Titan's southern latitudes since Cassini arrived in 2004, during Titan's summer in the lower latitudes.  But until 2010 when Titan entered summer in the northern latitude, no clouds had been seen until now.

The picture here was obtained in July 2014 as Cassini receded from Titan after a close flyby.

I would hazard a guess that most of us suffer from hubris when thinking of a Titan year being analogous to a Luna year here on Earth. (for those of you scratching your head and saying umm luna year is the same as Earths because it travels around the Sun with us...well no...a "year" is one orbit around the primary by a secondary or satellite.  Luna year apx. 29 days) Titans year however is 30 Earth years and a season is about 7 EYs.   Wow do you start to get the scale of things out in the gas giant arena?   Luna orbits Earth so fast because it is so freakishly close!

You can read the rest of the Astronomy Magazine article HERE

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