PIA16177: Glowing Titan

Glowing Titan


This set of images from NASA's Cassini spacecraft shows Saturn's moon Titan glowing in the dark. Titan was behind Saturn at the time, in eclipse from the sun. The image on the left is a calibrated, but unprocessed image from Cassini's imaging camera. The image on the right was processed to exclude reflected light off Saturn and it is clear that even where Titan did not receive any Saturnshine, it is still emitting light. Some light appears to be emanating from high in the atmosphere (noted by the outer dashed line at about 625 miles or 1,000 kilometers in altitude). But more surprisingly, most of it is diffusing up from lower down in the moon's haze, from about 190 miles (300 kilometers) above the surface.

The white speckles in the background are streaks from stars. The camera kept focused on Titan during the 560-second-long exposure time of this image and the stars moved during that period relative to Titan. The image was taken on May 7, 2009.

Background Info:

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Cassini-Huygens mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging team is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov . The Cassini imaging team homepage is at http://ciclops.org .

Cataloging Keywords:

Name Value Additional Values
Target Titan Saturn, Sun
System Saturn
Target Type Satellite Planet, Sun
Mission Cassini-Huygens
Instrument Host Cassini Orbiter
Host Type Orbiter
Instrument Imaging Science Subsystem (ISS)
Extra Keywords Atmosphere, Eclipse, Grayscale, Haze
Acquisition Date
Release Date 2012-10-31
Date in Caption 2009-05-07
Image Credit NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
Source photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA16177
Identifier PIA16177