Report

Evidence for a Polar Ethane Cloud on Titan

Science  15 Sep 2006:
Vol. 313, Issue 5793, pp. 1620-1622
DOI: 10.1126/science.1128245

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Abstract

Spectra from Cassini's Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer reveal the presence of a vast tropospheric cloud on Titan at latitudes 51° to 68° north and all longitudes observed (10° to 190° west). The derived characteristics indicate that this cloud is composed of ethane and forms as a result of stratospheric subsidence and the particularly cool conditions near the moon's north pole. Preferential condensation of ethane, perhaps as ice, at Titan's poles during the winters may partially explain the lack of liquid ethane oceans on Titan's surface at middle and lower latitudes.

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