Astronomy Picture of the Day

Titan's Cryovolcano

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#74779 by @ 11.06.2005 00:00 - nach oben -
Titan's Cryovolcano


Investigators suspect
the domed feature detailed
above is an ice volcano, or cryovolcano,
in infrared light
through the hazy atmosphere on
Saturn's moon Titan.

Since Titan's surface temperature is around -180 degrees
Celsius, 'lava' welling up to form the
would be icy indeed - possibly a slurry of
methane, ammonia, and water ice combined with other ices
and hydrocarbons.

The circular
is roughly thirty kilometers in

If its volcanic nature is confirmed, the discovery of
cryovolcanism on Titan could explain the origin of methane
in Titan's atmosphere.

Before the Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn,
a popular explanation for replenishing Titan's
concentration of atmospheric methane
was the presence of an extensive, methane-rich,
hydrocarbon sea.

But Cassini's instruments and the
Huygens surface probe
have failed to find such a global ocean.

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