Images from Cassini show that Titan is experiencing seasonal changes.
(Mirror Daily, United States) Saturn’s Moon, Titan, is going through seasonal changes, as the latest images from Cassini suggest. NASA’s orbiter has been gathering such information since 2009 when a moon equinox seemed to have something to do with the phenomenon. However, seasonal changes appear to be more pointed now.
The Cassini orbiter reached its destination more than ten years ago, in 2004. Ever since it has been providing researchers with valuable information on Saturn and its natural satellites. The most recent images from the spacecraft indicate that Titan, Saturn’s largest moon, is going through pointed seasonal changes.
NASA specialists observed that there is an unusual atmospheric vortex in the pictures provided by Cassini. The phenomenon was located on Titan’s Southern hemisphere, near to its pole. The atmospheric vortex seems to be forming on the upper layers.
According to specialists, the South hemisphere of Titan should be experiencing its cold season. The same phenomenon was captured by Cassini images when the moon was going through winter on its Northern hemisphere. The researchers concluded that the vortex must be related to the low temperatures.
Moreover, as the cold season draws in and the spring starts to install, the vortex-like formation starts to disappear too. However, it is replaced by warmer temperatures than usual on Titan. The specialists reached this conclusion after observing similar atmospheric phenomena for several years on a row.
The vortex pattern seems to be made up by clouds formed at high altitudes, as researchers explain. They also state that they have found evidence of several gasses comprised in this particular formation. Benzene and methylacetylene are just two of them, and they were reported on Titan’s both South and North hemispheres.
As far as temperatures are concerned, NASA specialists observed that is an increase of more than three degrees Celsius on Titan’s Northern hemisphere than it used to.
Experts explain that gasses travel Saturn’s largest moon according to its cold and warm season. So the hot gasses are attracted by summertime, while the cold ones are attracted by the winter-like period.
The researchers are aware of the importance of the Cassini mission. Thanks to the data provided by the spacecraft, they can now state that there are seasonal changes on Saturn’s moon. They could study them gradually, and analyze the details that they would receive from Cassini periodically. They also concluded that the seasonal changes must have been triggered by the moon equinox when both hemispheres were equally exposed to sunlight.
Image courtesy of: Wikipedia