New Delhi: NASA’s Cassini spacecraft that is currently orbiting planet Saturn, has over time, conducted several flyby’s of the planet and its moons.
Giving us breathtaking insights into the planet’s evolution, Cassini has beamed back yet another evolutionary image of a transient feature in the large hydrocarbon sea named Ligeia Mare on Saturn’s moon Titan.
These features are informally known as the “magic island” and are “a phenomenon that change over time,” according to Cassini scientists.
As per NASA, the scientists conclude that the brightening is due to either waves, solids at or beneath the surface or bubbles, with waves thought to be the most likely explanation. They think tides, sea level and seafloor changes are unlikely to be responsible for the brightening.
NASA further says that, the Cassini radar team plans to re-observe this particular region of Ligeia Mare one more time during Cassini’s final close flyby of Titan in April 2017. The results may further illuminate the phenomenon responsible for the appearance of the transient features.
Ligeia is Titan’s second-largest liquid hydrocarbon sea, and has a total area of about 50,000 square miles (130,000 square kilometers), making it 50 percent larger than Lake Superior on Earth. This panel is a mosaic of five synthetic aperture radar images acquired by Cassini between 2007 and 2014. It shows a region approximately 330 by 305 miles (530 by 490 kilometers) in area.
The image was taken from the Radar instrument aboard NASA’s Cassini spacecraft.