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Giant North Polar Cloud on Titan
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Giant North Polar Cloud on Titan

November 17, 2009
Cassini's visual and infrared mapping spectrometer has imaged a huge cloud system covering the north pole of Titan.

This composite image shows the cloud, imaged at a distance of 90 000 kilometers during a flyby on 29 December 2006, designed to observe the limb of the moon. Cassini's visual and infrared mapping spectrometer (VIMS) scanned the limb, revealing this spectacular cloud system. It covers the north pole down to a latitude of 62° north and at all observed longitudes.

Such a cloud cover was expected, according to the atmospheric circulation models of Titan, but it had never been observed before in such detail. The condensates may be the source of liquids that fill the lakes recently discovered by the radar instrument. This image was colour-coded, with blue, green and red at 2 μm, 2.7 μm, and 5 μm, respectively.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency


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