On Saturn, the summer came

On Titan, the largest moon of Saturn, is the changing of the seasons. When in 2004 it flew the spacecraft “Cassini“, on its surface it was summer — this was evidenced by clouds and precipitation in the southern hemisphere. According to astronomers, next summer on Titan supposed to come in 2017, but that, for unknown reasons, did not happen. Despite signs of the onset of summer in 2014, the delay lasted about two years — the staff has mentioned precipitation just now.

Спутник Сатурна Титан

About the onset of summer, scientists have learned in the course of study taken apparatus “Cassini” images. One of them, taken in June 2016, captured the footage of the satellite area of 120 000 square kilometers. This plot reflects the light, that is, on the surface there is a huge puddle left after the rain. It should be emphasized that the Titan are not “boring” earth rain — precipitation composed of liquid methane. Scientists assume that the puddle is not on a smooth surface and irregularities.

Летний дождь на спутнике Сатурна

Scientists came to the conclusion that summer on Titan has yet occurred, but with some delay. At the moment they are trying to understand the reason for the delay in the change of season. When it becomes clear, the researchers will introduce adjustments as they created a climate model of the satellite.

We want our model predictions match our observations. The detection of precipitation proves that the climate of the satellite consistent with our theoretical models. The summer has come. Late, but came. We have to figure out what was the reason for the delay.

Rajani, Dingra, lead author of the study

Scientists want to know the exact timetable for the change of seasons on Saturn, as these data can help to improve atmospheric models of distant exoplanets. Also Titan is interesting to scientists because it is one of the space objects, suitable for life.

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