Spying Titans weather
Using recent Cassini, Huygens and Earth-based observations, scientists have been able to create a computer model which explains the formation of several types of ethane and methane clouds on Titan.
Clouds have been observed recently on Titan, Saturn’s largest moon, through the thick haze, using near-infrared spectroscopy and images of the south pole and temperate regions near 40° South. Recent observations from Earth-based telescopes and the NASA/ESA/ASI Cassini spacecraft are now providing an insight into cloud climatology.
A European team, led by Pascal Rannou of the Service d’Aeronomie, IPSL Universite de Versailles-St-Quentin, France, has developed a general circulation model which couples dynamics, haze and cloud physics to study Titan climate and enables us to understand how the major cloud features which are observed, are produced.
This climate model also allows scientists to predict the cloud distribution for the complete Titan year (30 terrestrial years), and especially in the next years of Cassini observations.
Jean-Pierre Lebreton | EurekAlert!
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