Sunlight on a Lake

titan_lake_flashTwo bodies in the Solar System have freely flowing liquids on their surface. The Earth has water. Saturn’s largest moon Titan is too cold for liquid water, but it does have liquid methane.

This image shows a flash of sunlight reflected off a lake on Titan. Its northern hemisphere is shrouded in darkness for nearly 15 years, but the sun begins to illuminate the area again as it approaches its spring equinox. The Cassini spacecraft was able to detect the glint at the beginning of Titan’s spring in 2009. The moon’s hazy atmosphere scatters and absorbs many wavelengths of light, including most of the visible spectrum. But an onboard instrument was able to detect the glint in infrared wavelengths that can penetrate through Titan’s atmosphere. This image was created using wavelengths of light in the 5 µm range.

Image Credit: NASA

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