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17 December 2015
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.
18 February 2013
Dr. Alex Hayes is Assistant Professor of Astronomy at Cornell University. Hayes uses spacecraft-based remote sensing to study the properties of planetary surfaces, their interactions with the interior, and if present, atmosphere. Recently, he has focused on studying the coupling of surface, subsurface, and atmospheric processes on Titan and Mars.
16 December 2010
Everyone knows Saturn has rings. Lots of them. They’re big, easily visible, and have achieved iconic status.
But did you know that hiding within those rings are tiny, tiny moons, some less than a kilometer across?
The moons–or moonlets–are so small they’re invisible even to the Cassini spacecraft buzzing around Saturn. But we know they’re there: we can see the distinctive, propeller-shaped patterns they make in Saturn’s rings as they orbit the plane
Kansas might be flatter than a pancake, but some of the moons circling Jupiter and Saturn are not. The relatively tiny, icy, rocky moons of the outer solar system host a gigantic array of interesting surface features. Some are more exotic, like the measured, undulating ridges on Ganymede and the cratered ruins blanketing Callisto, both moons of Jupiter. And some make the leap to the truly bizarre: enormous mountains encircling the equator of Saturn’s Iapetus, the likes of which have not been observed elsewhere.
14 December 2010
I always thought volcanoes belched flaming, crackling chunks of rock, oozed hot goopy magma, and buried everything on their slopes. So when I noticed several presentations on AGU’s schedule about “ice volcanoes,”–like P22A: Titan: The methane cycle and potential for watery warm spots 1 I was intrigued.