"Doctor" Cassini measures the temperature of Titan

When you go to your annual health check, you can expect the doctor to take your temperature. Well, the impression is that Saturn’s satellites also received similar treatment, reports NASA.

Below is the animation of how the global temperature of Titan has changed over the past 12 years, and you may notice a trend: the south is getting cooler as the north heats up.

Using the Cassini instrument - Composite Infrared Spectrometer (CIRS), mission scientists were able to monitor the thermal infrared radiation coming from the lunar surface. Titan is the only moon in the Solar System with a dense atmosphere, so measuring its temperature is fraught with difficulties. However, the atmosphere of Titan has something known as a “spectral window” in the infrared wavelength - 19 microns, which allows this type of thermal radiation to pass into space without being absorbed by the gases of the atmosphere.

Atmospheric haze still impedes the measurement process, but global temperatures were averaged from east to west, creating a striped temperature structure.

The temperature map of the surface of Titan over the past 12 years Cassini arrived at Saturn's orbit in 2004, when the southern hemisphere of Titan was in the summertime. As expected, during this time, it was warm in the southern hemisphere. “Warm” is of course a relative concept. Saturn rotates around the Sun at a distance of 10 intervals between the Sun and the Earth, so that very weak light reaches Titan and has less heating power than on our planet.

For example, the summer peak temperature on Titan was measured at -292 degrees Fahrenheit (-179.5 degrees Celsius or 93.6 Kelvin) near the equator, but when measured at the poles during this time the temperature was only 6 degrees colder than Fahrenheit (3.5 degrees Celsius or Kelvin).

Saturn flies around the Sun once in 30 years, so its season lasts 7.5 years. The Cassini, being a long-term mission in the annular gas giant, had the opportunity to observe seasonal changes in the atmosphere of Saturn for 12 years, but in the case of Titan it was only 2 seasons.

Alas, the mission of Cassini comes to an end. And in September 2017, the device will fall closer to the upper atmosphere of Saturn, burning as an anthropogenic meteor.

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