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US NewsNASA's Cassini finds disappearing 'phantom lakes' on Saturn's largest moon

08:00  16 april  2019
08:00  16 april  2019 Source:

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Saturn ’ s moon Titan may be nearly a billion miles away from Earth, but a recently published paper based on Ligeia Mare, shown in here in data obtained by NASA ' s Cassini spacecraft, is the second largest Smaller lakes on Titan, it turns out, appear at elevations several hundred feet, or meters

What Cassini found at Saturn prompted scientists to rethink their understanding of the solar system. Cassini revealed the beauty of Saturn , its rings and moons , inspiring our sense of wonder. NASA ' s Cassini spacecraft has detected dust storms on Saturn ' s largest moon , making

NASA's Cassini finds disappearing 'phantom lakes' on Saturn's largest moon © CNET cassinititan Saturn's largest moon, Titan, resembles an Earth you might find in a parallel universe.

It is a mysterious and intriguing moon because it's the only other world we currently know of that has liquid on its surface. It has its own "water cycle" and its poles show an abundance of glistening lakes. It's just that those lakes aren't full of good ol' H2O, like down here on Earth. Instead, they're mostly made up of liquid methane.

And weirdly enough, it seems like some of them are just up and vanishing.

What's going on in this colourful Saturn image? (Video by: GeoBeats)

That's according to a new study, published April 15 in Nature Astronomy, that assessed the lakes at Titan's north pole, using data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft, which was equipped with a RADAR instrument and infrared imager.

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Saturn ' s moon Titan is home to seas and lakes filled with liquid hydrocarbons, but what forms the depressions on the surface? A new study using data from the joint NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) Cassini mission suggests the moon ' s surface dissolves in a process that' s similar to

Astronomers hope a final Cassini flyby will solve a mystery in one of Titan' s lakes . Ligeia Mare, shown here in a false color image from NASA ' s Cassini mission, is the second- largest known body of liquid The astronomers dubbed them “magic islands” because of their shape and disappearing act.

A team of researchers from Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory studied images from Cassini's flyby in 2006, noting the presence of dark patches across the northern hemisphere -- the methane lakes. Titan takes almost 30 Earth years to complete one year around the sun, so its seasons are drastically longer than what we are used to on Earth.

NASA's Cassini finds disappearing 'phantom lakes' on Saturn's largest moon © Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. NASA nicknamed this spinning vortex of a storm seen on Saturn's north pole "The Rose" based on its resemblance to the Earth flower. The Cassini image is shown in false-color to highlight the storm's whirling cloud patterns. When the team went back and looked at the same region in 2013, Titan had moved on from its Game of Thrones-length winter and into spring. Three particular dark patches that signified liquid upon the surface were no longer visible. The so-called "phantom lakes" had disappeared.

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NASA ' s Cassini spacecraft is providing scientists with key clues about Saturn ' s moon Titan, and in particular, its hydrocarbon lakes and seas. Titan is one of the most Earth-like places in the solar system, and the only place other than our planet that has stable liquid on its surface.

- Data from NASA ' s Cassini spacecraft have revealed Saturn ' s moon Titan likely harbors a layer of liquid water under its ice shell. Researchers saw a large amount of squeezing and stretching as the moon orbited Saturn . They deduced that if Titan were composed entirely of stiff rock, the gravitational

NASA's Cassini finds disappearing 'phantom lakes' on Saturn's largest moon © Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. A graceful Cassini image from early 2017 shows Saturn's face and rings lit up by the sun. NASA explains what we're seeing with the rings : "From this vantage point just beneath the ring plane, the dense B ring becomes dark and essentially opaque, letting almost no light pass through. But some light reflected by the planet passes through the less dense A ring, which appears above the B ring in this photo." The research team suggests the phantom lakes could be ponds that are only inches deep and may provide an example of the seasonal cycles that Titan experiences and the way that climate changes as it makes its way around the sun. And though Titan has been floated as a potential place where life may have found a way to thrive, these short-lived lakes are, according to the paper, "nutrient-poor". That makes a bad place for aliens to call home.

Gallery: Stunning images of moons in our solar system (Photo Services)

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- Scientists with NASA ' s Cassini mission have spotted what appears to be a miniature, extraterrestrial likeness of Earth's Nile River: a river valley on Saturn ' s moon Cassini 's visual and infrared mapping spectrometer confirmed liquid ethane at a lake in Titan's southern hemisphere known as Ontario

The moons of Saturn are numerous and diverse, ranging from tiny moonlets less than 1 kilometer across to the enormous Titan, which is larger than the planet Mercury.

The current issue of Nature Astronomy also features another paper describing Titan's unusual methane lakes in the April 15 edition, whereby a team used Cassini's RADAR to show some just how deep some of the northern lakes go. They found that they could exceed up to 100 meters in depth

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NASA's Cassini finds disappearing 'phantom lakes' on Saturn's largest moon © Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. Titan looks colorful in this composite infrared image assembled from Cassini shots taken during a November 2015 flyby. Scientists can see through the moon's hazy atmosphere and inspect surface details through the use of near-infrared wavelengths. Titan is Saturn's largest moon. NASA's Cassini spacecraft, which launched in 1997 and reached Saturn in 2004, observed the ringed planet and its moons over the course of 13 years. It was sent hurtling into Saturn on Sept. 15, 2017, burning up in the atmosphere. The space agency is currently mulling over a new proposal to send a drone, known as Dragonfly, to study Titan in greater detail.

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