Changing seasons of Titan explored again

Studies of the seasons on Saturn’s largest natural satellite Titan have been a rich source of studies during the long years of the Cassini mission. The tilt of the satellite to the Sun changes over the course of Saturn’s orbit, making seasons last seven years. As one full season since Cassini began studying the rock draws closer to the end, the changing cloud patterns have been revealed.

Clouds of ethane appear at 30-50km. At the beginning of the season, they clustered at the North Pole, with a thin covering at the South Pole and a band centred at a southern latitude of 40 degrees. Now, the polar clouds are thinning away and the band is getting stronger, as predicted by computer models.

Cassini has been allowed to continue through to 2017, allowing the majority of a second season at Titan to be enjoyed close up from Earth.


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