Ethane Cloud around Titan North Pole
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Ethane Cloud around Titan North Pole

November 17, 2009
These infrared images were taken by the Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) on board Cassini and show Titan's reflectance at 2.8 µm, on four dates.

The red area (higher reflectance) near 56°N latitude indicates the presence of a cloud over all the observed longitudes (10° to 190° W). Sunlight scattering off the limb also appears red in image (D), but this is due solely to the illumination angle and doesn't indicate cloud cover. The higher northern latitudes - exceeding 70°N - are currently not illuminated by the Sun as it is northern winter on Titan.

The four images were taken at

A) 06:26 UT, 13 December 2004 B) 04:25 UT, 22 August 2005 C) 23:44 UT, 21 August 2005 D) 02:55 UT, 7 September 2005

The pixel resolution (horizontal by vertical) is in the range (50-95) by (50-150) km².

Legend NP: direction of the north pole X: subspacecraft point Yellow arrow: direction of solar illumination

Image from "Evidence for a Polar Ethane Cloud on Titan", C.A. Griffith et al., Science, 313, 5793, pp. 1620-1622, 15 September 2006

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