APOD: Titan Seas Reflect Sunlight (2015 Feb 02)

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APOD: Titan Seas Reflect Sunlight (2015 Feb 02)

Post by APOD Robot » Mon Feb 02, 2015 5:10 am

Image Titan Seas Reflect Sunlight

Explanation: Why would the surface of Titan light up with a blinding flash? The reason: a sunglint from liquid seas. Saturn's moon Titan has numerous smooth lakes of methane that, when the angle is right, reflect sunlight as if they were mirrors. Pictured here in false-color, the robotic Cassini spacecraft orbiting Saturn imaged the cloud-covered Titan last summer in different bands of cloud-piercing infrared light. This specular reflection was so bright it saturated one of Cassini's infrared cameras. Although the sunglint was annoying -- it was also useful. The reflecting regions confirm that northern Titan houses a wide and complex array of seas with a geometry that indicates periods of significant evaporation. During its numerous passes of our Solar System's most mysterious moon, Cassini has revealed Titan to be a world with active weather -- including times when it rains a liquefied version of natural gas.

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Re: APOD: Titan Seas Reflect Sunlight (2015 Feb 02)

Post by montylc2001 » Mon Feb 02, 2015 7:59 am

Had the Huygens lander landed in one of these seas, what would have been the outcome? Would it have immediately sank, or would it have floated at least long enough to be able to take some measurements and images?

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Re: APOD: Titan Seas Reflect Sunlight (2015 Feb 02)

Post by tomatoherd » Mon Feb 02, 2015 2:15 pm

I understand to top left reflection of the sun. But what is causing the second big glow lower and more centerwards? There shouldn't be two sun reflections on a smooth sphere.

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Re: APOD: Titan Seas Reflect Sunlight (2015 Feb 02)

Post by 1Al » Mon Feb 02, 2015 2:46 pm

Are we sure that these areas are just invaded by liquid hydrocarbons? It could be rather different nature of land/terrain more smooth and highly reflective for radar? The area where Huygens landed showed the same features of these areas in the apod image, but there was no trace of liquid. Probably there are not methane lakes, neither of another liquid, but only surfaces of different nature, which better reflect the radio waves of the radar. Huygens didn't give us any evidence of liquid on Titan. All this goes to show the mainstream's level of science fiction. In addition on Titan, I wonder, also make it sense for a serious science, argue that a low-mass planet as Titan, could maintain an so thick atmosphere unchanged for 4 billion years? It seems to me ridiculous to support such poppycock.

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Re: APOD: Titan Seas Reflect Sunlight (2015 Feb 02)

Post by Chris Peterson » Mon Feb 02, 2015 3:14 pm

1Al wrote:Are we sure that these areas are just invaded by liquid hydrocarbons? It could be rather different nature of land/terrain more smooth and highly reflective for radar?
It is quite certain, because these hydrocarbons have unique spectral signatures that have been well studied. And this image isn't made with radar; it shows a specular reflection of sunlight off a liquid surface (seen in near-IR bands where the atmosphere is transparent).
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Re: APOD: Titan Seas Reflect Sunlight (2015 Feb 02)

Post by 1Al » Mon Feb 02, 2015 3:36 pm

Ok, but it would be compared with the images of the landing area of ​​Huygens, but this time in the infrared, previous were made with the radar. Until proof to the contrary, I don't think there is liquid.

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Re: APOD: Titan Seas Reflect Sunlight (2015 Feb 02)

Post by Chris Peterson » Mon Feb 02, 2015 3:44 pm

1Al wrote:Ok, but it would be compared with the images of the landing area of ​​Huygens, but this time in the infrared, previous were made with the radar.
The distinction is very important. Aside from the very different part of the electromagnetic spectrum, radar images are made with an illuminator, while optical images such as today's are lit by sunlight or by thermal radiation. So we are inherently seeing things in very different ways between the two.

Because all such data is converted to imagery, it is easy to confuse things. They may look the same once mapped to some particular color range. But they show different information- literally show us Titan in a different light.
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Re: APOD: Titan Seas Reflect Sunlight (2015 Feb 02)

Post by 1Al » Mon Feb 02, 2015 3:54 pm

Ok this is clear, but in fact need images of the landing area of ​​Huygens in infrared for comparison.

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Re: APOD: Titan Seas Reflect Sunlight (2015 Feb 02)

Post by LKT » Mon Feb 02, 2015 5:14 pm

So, what about a probe to Titan that uses a combustion engine once it gets there to roam or fly around? It seems like it's a world that's ripe for exploration as the atmosphere is literally made of fuel.

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Re: APOD: Titan Seas Reflect Sunlight (2015 Feb 02)

Post by Chris Peterson » Mon Feb 02, 2015 5:38 pm

LKT wrote:So, what about a probe to Titan that uses a combustion engine once it gets there to roam or fly around? It seems like it's a world that's ripe for exploration as the atmosphere is literally made of fuel.
You'd need to bring your own oxidizers.
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Re: APOD: Titan Seas Reflect Sunlight (2015 Feb 02)

Post by Scallywag » Mon Feb 02, 2015 11:49 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:
LKT wrote:So, what about a probe to Titan that uses a combustion engine once it gets there to roam or fly around? It seems like it's a world that's ripe for exploration as the atmosphere is literally made of fuel.
You'd need to bring your own oxidizers.
It should be possible to 'roam or fly around' with a lighter than atmosphere aircraft. No need for oxidizers, and probably no directional control. But with active weather, and a 'smart system' for altitude control. It would be easy enough (planetarily speaking) to deploy a series of 'balloons' with cameras & science packages attached to spend a few years drifting and studying where the Titan wind blows.... Need to send an orbiting relay platform to go with it to relay data back to us.

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Re: APOD: Titan Seas Reflect Sunlight (2015 Feb 02)

Post by Boomer12k » Tue Feb 03, 2015 12:26 am

With a NO SMOKING sign.... :D

But...plenty of methane for fuel, and generating electricity.…..

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Re: APOD: Titan Seas Reflect Sunlight (2015 Feb 02)

Post by Chris Peterson » Tue Feb 03, 2015 12:32 am

Boomer12k wrote:But...plenty of methane for fuel, and generating electricity.…..
But how do you use it for fuel or to generate electricity?
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Re: APOD: Titan Seas Reflect Sunlight (2015 Feb 02)

Post by BDanielMayfield » Tue Feb 03, 2015 1:10 am

Chris Peterson wrote:
Boomer12k wrote:But...plenty of methane for fuel, and generating electricity.…..
But how do you use it for fuel or to generate electricity?
As Chris stated earlier, you still need to bring an oxidizer. O2, O3, or maybe something else to enable combustion of Titan's rivers lakes and seas of ready made fuel.
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