Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
. 24/7 Space News .




SATURN DAILY
Titan Shows Surprising Seasonal Changes
by Staff Writers
Madrid, Spain (SPX) Oct 01, 2012


a "planet" in motion.

Detailed observations of Saturn's moon Titan have now spanned 30 years, covering an entire solar orbit for this distant world. Dr. Athena Coustenis from the Paris-Meudon Observatory in France has analyzed data gathered over this time and has found that the changing seasons of Titan affect it more than previously thought.

Coustenis explains, "As with Earth, conditions on Titan change with its seasons. We can see differences in atmospheric temperatures, chemical composition and circulation patterns, especially at the poles. For example, hydrocarbon lakes form around the north polar region during winter due to colder temperatures and condensation.

Also, a haze layer surrounding Titan at the northern pole is significantly reduced during the equinox because of the atmospheric circulation patterns.

This is all very surprising because we didn't expect to find any such rapid changes, especially in the deeper layers of the atmosphere."

The main cause of these cycles is solar radiation. This is the dominant energy source for Titan's atmosphere, breaking up the nitrogen and methane present to create more complex molecules, such as ethane, and acting as the driving force for chemical changes.

Titan is inclined at around 27 degrees, similar to the Earth, meaning that the cause of seasons - sunlight reaching different areas with varying intensity due to the tilt - is the same for both worlds. Coustenis says, "It's amazing to think that the Sun still dominates over other energy sources even as far out as Titan, over 1.5 billion kilometers from us."

To draw these conclusions data was analyzed from several different missions, including Voyager 1 (1980), the Infrared Space Observatory (1997), and Cassini (2004 onwards), complemented by ground-based observations.

Each season on Titan spans around 7.5 years, while it takes 29.5 years for Saturn to orbit the Sun, so data has now been gathered for an entire Titan year, encapsulating all seasons.

Coustenis explains why it is important to investigate this distant moon: "Titan is the best opportunity we have to study conditions very similar to our own planet in terms of climate, meteorology and astrobiology and at the same time a unique world on its own, a paradise for exploring new geological, atmospheric and internal processes."

Coustenis will present these results at the European Planetary Science Congress in Madrid on Friday 28th September.

.


Related Links
Euro Planet
Explore The Ring World of Saturn and her moons
Jupiter and its Moons
The million outer planets of a star called Sol
News Flash at Mercury






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





SATURN DAILY
Does Triton Have a Subsurface Ocean?
Moffett Field CA (SPX) Sep 07, 2012
Triton was discovered in 1846 by the British astronomer William Lassell, but much about Neptune's largest moon still remains a mystery. A Voyager 2 flyby in 1989 offered a quick peak at the satellite, and revealed a surface composition comprised mainly of water ice. The moon's surface also had nitrogen, methane, and carbon dioxide. As Triton's density is quite high, it is suspected that it ... read more


SATURN DAILY
China has no timetable for manned moon landing

Senior scientist discusses China's lunar orbiter challenges

NASA sees 'gateway' for space missions

Protection for Moon, Mars astronauts eyed

SATURN DAILY
Rock Grinding Action

Learning to live on Mars

Mars Rover Opportunity Working at 'Matijevic Hill'

Curiosity Completes Longest Drive Yet

SATURN DAILY
SciTechTalk: NASA's planetary playbook

Bryan Campen joins XCOR as Director of Media and Public Relations

B612 Wins Funding Support From Prominent Business Leadersy

Cavenauts return to Earth

SATURN DAILY
China Spacesat gets 18-million-USD gov't support

Tiangong Orbit Change Signals Likely Date for Shenzhou 10

China Focus: Timeline for China's space research revealed

China eyes next lunar landing as US scales back

SATURN DAILY
Space freighter undocking set for Friday

Russia to send all-novice crew to ISS

ATV undocking postponed

Crew Members Prepare for Departure

SATURN DAILY
Ariane rocket launches two telecom satellites

Ariane 5 maintains Arianespace's track record of success with the launch of ASTRA 2F and GSAT-10

California Governor Signs the Spaceflight Liability and Immunity Act

Processing is underway with the next Automated Transfer Vehicle to be orbited by Arianespace

SATURN DAILY
The Magnetic Wakes of Pulsar Planets

Stagnant Interiors Suppress Chances of Life on Super-Earths

Meteors Might Add Methane to Exoplanet Atmospheres

Two 'hot Jupiters' found in star cluster: NASA

SATURN DAILY
HP powers business tablet with Windows 8

'MindMeld' app anticipates people's needs

Search for element 113 concluded at last

Kodak dumps inkjet printers, more jobs




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement