Monday, May 02, 2005

New Titan Image: Dark Spots on Titan

CICLOPS has released this newly processed view of bright and dark terrain on Titan. This particular view, taken during the April 16 flyby of Titan, shows a 20-km wide dark spot on Titan, that maybe impact-related. From the caption:
Interestingly, a smaller (~20 km in diameter), dark circular feature can be seen within a bright annulus, similar to the larger dark spot associated with the RADAR crater. However, ISS sees only brightness variations and without topographic information whether this feature is also an impact crater cannot be determined conclusively. The Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS), which is sensitive to longer wavelengths at which Titan's atmospheric haze is less obscuring, observed this area simultaneously with ISS, so those data, and perhaps future observations by Cassini's RADAR, may help to answer the question of this feature's origin.

The image at right consists of five images that have been added together and enhanced to bring out surface detail and to reduce noise, though some camera artifacts remain. These images were taken using with a filter sensitive to infrared wavelengths near 938 nanometers, considered the best ISS filter for observing the surface of Titan. This view was acquired from a distance of 33,000 kilometers. The pixel scale of this image is 390 meters per pixel though the actual resolution is likely to be several times that.


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