Image: Cloud activity returns to Titan's northern latitudes

January 4, 2017, NASA
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Floating high above the hydrocarbon lakes, wispy clouds have finally started to return to Titan's northern latitudes.

Clouds like these disappeared from Titan's (3,200 miles or 5,150 kilometers across) northern reaches for several years (from about 2010 to 2014). Now they have returned, but in far smaller numbers than expected. Since clouds can quickly appear and disappear, Cassini scientists regularly monitor the large moon, in the hopes of observing . They are especially interested in comparing these observations to predictions of how should change with Saturn's seasons. Titan's clear skies are not what researchers expected.

See PIA18421 for more on the disappearance and return of the clouds.

This view looks toward the Saturn-facing side of Titan. North on Titan is up and rotated 3 degrees to the left. The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Oct. 29, 2016 using a spectral filter that preferentially admits wavelengths of near-infrared light centered at 938 nanometers.

The was obtained at a distance of approximately 545,000 miles (878,000 kilometers) from Titan. Image scale is 3 miles (5 kilometers) per pixel.

Image: Cloud activity returns to Titan's northern latitudes
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Explore further: Image: Saturn's north pole basking in light

More information: For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit saturn.jpl.nasa.gov

and www.nasa.gov/cassini

The Cassini imaging team homepage is at ciclops.org

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