Cassini Spacecraft Captures Feathery Methane Clouds Gliding Across Saturn Moon Titan
NASA's Cassini spacecraft spotted drifting methane clouds across Saturn's moon Titan. It was captured on May 7, 2017, during a distant flyby at a distance of 316,000 miles (508,000 kilometers).
Cassini observes Titan and its atmosphere from a distance. It passed 303,000 miles (488,000 kilometers) over the surface of Saturn's moon. In the image, the dark areas on top are Titan's hydrocarbon lakes and seas and the bright streaks represent the methane clouds, according to NASA.
— NASA (@NASA) May 10, 2017
There are two versions of the image that have been released. Figure A has stronger enhancement, while Figure B has much softer enhancement. In Figure A, one could see the bands and seas clearly, while in the other image, it delivers a softer and frail view, according to CNET.
Fresh from Titan: bright, feathery methane clouds drift above hydrocarbon lakes and seas on May 7 https://t.co/QHKwqYdqYl pic.twitter.com/aaz82GKgYj — CassiniSaturn (@CassiniSaturn) May 9, 2017
— Popular Science (@PopSci) May 11, 2017
The unmanned spacecraft Cassini is sent to the planet Saturn to examine its system. It is the fourth space probe to investigate Saturn and the first to enter orbit. It was launched on Oct. 15, 1997 and orbited Saturn on July 4, 2004. Cassini has still been in operation and entered now its Grand Finale. This is due to its dwindling fuel supply. It will finally dive into Saturn's atmosphere on Sep. 15, 2017.
Meanwhile, the Cassini mission is a joint project of NASA, the Italian Space Agency and the European Space Agency (ESA). The Jet Propulsion Laboratory developed and designed the Cassini orbiter and its two cameras.