The James Webb Space Telescope of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (POT) captured the first photos of the atmosphere of Titan, the largest moon. Despite the fact that these were taken in November, their publication was not until December.
Margaret W. Carruthers, who belongs to the NASA Space Telescope Science Institute, explained that a group of researchers used the infrared vision of Webb to study Titan’s atmosphere. As well as its weather patterns and gas composition.
Webb helped the team see through the haze to study bright and dark patches on Titan’s surface.
“Titan’s atmosphere is incredibly interesting. Not just because of its methane clouds and storms, but also because of what it can tell astronomers about Titan’s past and future. The current atmosphere can also tell researchers if Titan always had an atmosphere,” Carruthers said.
According to NASA, Titan is the only moon in the solar system with a dense atmosphere. It is also the only planetary body besides Earth that currently has rivers, lakes, and seas.
The liquid that runs through these flows is made up of hydrocarbons, including methane and ethane, it is not water. The atmosphere is filled with a haze that obscures visible light reflecting off the surface, but this was not captured by Webb.
Likewise, scientists highlight how fascinating are weather patterns and their gaseous composition.
Finally, they looked through the haze to study the albedo features. Which are those bright and dark spots that appear on the surface.
Imke de Pater at the University of California, Berkele reported that it was: “Very exciting! There appears to be a large cloud, we believe over the north polar region, near the Kraken Mare. We were concerned that the clouds had disappeared when we looked at Titan two days later with Keck, but to our delight there were clouds in the same positions, which seemed to have changed shape.”
Main news source: news.abplive