Thursday, February 24, 2005

VLT Observations of Titan

VLT image of Titan

The European Southern Observatory in Chile has released some new images and spectra taken of Titan during the Huygens landing by the Very Large Telescope's adaptive optics NAOS/CONICA instrument. The images produces are some of the clearest views of Titan taken from Earth. They clearly show prominent features in the anti-Saturn hemisphere, like the bright dark boundary on the western side of Xanadu, the landing site region, and the "Eye of the Dragon". Their best images come from the 1.6 micron methane window (as opposed to the 2.0 micron window that the Keck group uses). The results presented today do bode well for performing regional spectroscopy on Titan in conjunction with VIMS on Cassini (which has a higher spatial resolution but a lower spectral resolution) though their lack of temporal resolution compared to the Keck group will make their results a bit weaker I think for tracking changes in Titan's atmosphere.

Results from last year were reported on the prior incarnation of this blog.


Post a Comment

<< Home