More about Titan
Until recently, almost everything we have known or guessed about the surface
of Titan has been due to Voyager 1, with a little help from its friends
Pioneer 11. Yet, none of these spacecraft were able to image Titan's
surface, despite valiant efforts. The reason: Titan is covered by a
ubiquitous haze, very similar in nature to the smog that covers major cities,
but much thicker. It is the smog that is responsible for Titan's brownish-
orange color, and it is the smog that filled every image of Titan.
Some views of the haze
- As Voyager approached Titan and
flew by very closely, it obtained images
(like this). They show a north-south asymmetry --
that is, the south is brighter than the north -- and a dark ring at high
northern latitudes, but nothing else. These large scale features
originate high in the atmosphere, and have also been viewed (at much
lower spatial reolution) from the Earth -- in fact, it is now the north that
is brighter than the south, as the asymmetry changes with seasons on Titan.
- Voyager departs from Titan:
The extensive haze in Titan's upper atmosphere is visible even on the
dark limb. If this were a picture of a solid body such as the Moon,
it would appear as a crescent, but the haze causess the crescent to
become a ring at the highest phase angles ("new moon").
Other Titan pages: