Planetary Topography

Springtime sighting at Titan's coastline

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Science  25 Jul 2014:
Vol. 345, Issue 6195, pp. 414-415
DOI: 10.1126/science.345.6195.414-g

Seasonal warming on Saturn's largest moon, Titan, is changing the shoreline of one of its methane seas. Titan hosts an active methane cycle like the water cycle on Earth, and a local year lasts 30 Earth years. Titan's northern summer solstice will occur in May 2017, and although seasonal shoreline changes have been seen in the south, they have not yet been observed in the north. Hofgartner et al. describe Cassini RADAR images that reveal a ~20-km feature coming and going in Titan's northern sea Ligeia Mare in July 2013. They interpret this signal as a change in the position of the boundary between the frozen shoreline and the liquid sea during the thaw after the winter's freeze.

Nat. Geosci. 10.1038/ngeo2190 (2014).

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