Evolution of the Atmosphere of Titan (NACO/VLT)
August 23, 2005
This photo is an image of Titan's atmosphere at 2.12 microns as observed with NACO on the VLT at three different epochs from 2002 till now. Titan's atmosphere exhibits seasonal and meteorological changes which can clearly be seen here : the North-South asymmetry - indicative of changes in the chemical composition in one pole or the other, depending on the season - is now clearly in favour of the North pole. Indeed, the situation has reversed with respect to a few years ago when the South pole was brighter. Also visible in these images is a bright feature in the South pole, found to be presently dimming after having appeared very bright from 2000 to 2003. The differences in size are due to the variation in the distance to Earth of Saturn and its planetary system.
Topics: Environment, Titan, Moons of Saturn, Saturn, chemical composition, Climate, Season, Earth, Very Large Telescope