Detection of Daily Clouds on Titan

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Science  20 Oct 2000:
Vol. 290, Issue 5491, pp. 509-513
DOI: 10.1126/science.290.5491.509

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We have discovered frequent variations in the near-infrared spectrum of Titan, Saturn's largest moon, which are indicative of the daily presence of sparse clouds covering less than 1% of the area of the satellite. The thermodynamics of Titan's atmosphere and the clouds' altitudes suggest that convection governs their evolutions. Their short lives point to the presence of rain. We propose that Titan's atmosphere resembles Earth's, with clouds, rain, and an active weather cycle, driven by latent heat release from the primary condensible species.

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