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16 April 2020

Dust devils may roam hydrocarbon dunes on Saturn’s moon Titan

Smoggy, with a chance of dust devils: conditions at the surface of Saturn’s moon Titan may spawn convective whirlwinds By Liza Lester Meteorological conditions on Saturn’s large moon Titan, the strange, distant world that may be the most Earth-like in the solar system, appear conducive to the formation of dust devils, according to new research in AGU’s journal Geophysical Research Letters. If true, these dry whirlwinds may be primary movers …

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3 December 2019

New study finds the mix that makes Titan’s lakes spew nitrogen bubbles

In a new study published in AGU’s journal Geophysical Research Letters, researchers simulated Titan’s lakes in a pressurized chamber. They found the right combination of methane, ethane and nitrogen crucial for bubbles to form. It is possible these bubble outbreaks are strong enough to shape river deltas in bodies of liquid on the moon.

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11 April 2019

Extended winter polar vortices chill Saturn’s strangely familiar moon, Titan

Saturn’s hazy moon Titan has a long-lived Earth-like winter polar vortex supercharged by the moon’s peculiar chemistry. A new study finds Titan’s northern hemisphere polar vortex sticks around past the moon’s summer solstice, into what would be late June on Earth, lasting three-quarters of a Titan year, or about 22 Earth years.

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22 May 2018

New study details geological process behind Titan’s dunes

Titan’s windswept dunes may sprawl millions of more kilometers than previously thought and were likely formed by geological processes similar to those on Earth, according to a new study. The new findings could help scientists look for life or its molecular precursors on Saturn’s largest moon.

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17 December 2015

Scientists Map Titan’s Lakes, Revealing Clues to their Origins

As Saturn’s largest moon, Titan earns its name. It’s also the only known body other than Earth with seas, numerous surface lakes, and even rainy weather. Now scientists have mapped out Titan’s polar lakes for the first time, revealing information about the moon’s climate and surface evolution. They found that the lakes formed differently than had been previously thought—and differently than any lakes on Earth.

A collaboration of scientists led by Alexander Hayes of Cornell University presented their findings at the 2015 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting. They used NASA’s Cassini spacecraft to penetrate Titan’s smoggy atmosphere and probe the complex lake systems below.

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14 December 2015

Waves on Titan

Stanford University’s Miles Traer is, once again, cartooning from the AGU Fall Meeting in San Francisco.

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7 January 2011

Strange New Worlds

I realized relatively recently that I like planets and I like speculative fiction for basically the same reason: strange new worlds just fire up my imagination.  That’s the topic of my latest post over at Science in my Fiction, where I take a look at some spectacular and bizarre real (or at least realistic) planetary locations that I think would be great settings for some sci-fi. I got a little …

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19 December 2010

AGU 2010 – Day 2: Shoemaker Lecture and Icy Moons

My massive summary of the Day 2 AGU planetary sciences talks, starting with the Shoemaker Lecture, and then covering Titan, Enceladus and other icy moons. Hydrocarbon volcanoes and icy geysers and hidden oceans, oh my!

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15 December 2010

AGU 2010: Day 1 – Astrobiology, Volcanoes, and More!

Planetary highlights from Day 1 of the Fall 2010 AGU conference: astrobiology, explosive volcanism, planetary atmospheres and lots of methane!

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