Hubble Space Telescope images of Titan's surface

Both of these images were taken with the HST Planetary Camera and have been deconvolved with the Lucy algorithm to sharpen the features. North is up and (geographical) east is to the right. The left image was taken at an orbital longitude of 45 E (geographical coordinates), and shows the "dark side" of Titan. The right image was taken about 130 hours later at a longitude of 285 E, and shows a bright feature coming onto the disk from the west (left).

Note that in both images, Titan is limb-brightenned, that is, the limb is brighter than the center of the disk. This is especially true in the earlier image, and in the southern hemisphere of both images. The limb-brightening alone suggests that we are seeing the surface, as atmospheres are typically limb darkenned. A dark surface, or a strong absorption, under a bright haze causes limb brightening due to the longer path through the haze at the limbs. The haze is also thought to be thicker in the south currently (opposite its state at the time of the Voyager encounter).

Both images are shown with the same stretch.

Titan page