- Specular Spectacular
This near-infrared, color mosaic from NASA's Cassini spacecraft shows the sun glinting off of Titan's north polar seas. While Cassini has captured, separately, views of the polar seas (see PIA17470) and the sun glinting off of them (see PIA12481 and PIA18433) in the past, this is the first time both have been seen together in the same view. The sunglint, also called a specular reflection, is the bright area near the 11 o'clock position at upper left. This mirror-like reflection, known as the specular point, is in the south of Titan's largest sea, Kraken Mare, just north of an island archipelago separating two separate parts of the sea. This particular sunglint was so bright as to saturate the detector of Cassini's Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) instrument, which captures the view. It is also the sunglint seen with the highest observation elevation so far -- the sun was a full 40 degrees above the horizon as seen from Kraken Mare at this time -- much higher than the 22 degrees seen in PIA18433. Because it was so bright, this glint was visible through the haze at much lower wavelengths than before, down to 1.3 microns. The southern portion of Kraken Mare (the area surrounding the specular feature toward upper left) displays a "bathtub ring" -- a bright margin of evaporate deposits -- which indicates that the sea was larger at some point in the past and has become smaller due to evaporation. The deposits are material left behind after the methane & ethane liquid evaporates, somewhat akin to the saline crust on a salt flat. The highest resolution data from this flyby -- the area seen immediately to the right of the sunglint -- cover the labyrinth of channels that connect Kraken Mare to another large sea, Ligeia Mare. Ligeia Mare itself is partially covered in its northern reaches by a bright, arrow-shaped complex of clouds. The clouds are made of liquid methane droplets, and could be actively refilling the lakes with rainfall. The view was acquired during Cassini's August 21, 2014, flyby of Titan, also referred to as "T104" by the Cassini team. The view contains real color information, although it is not the natural color the human eye would see. Here, red in the image corresponds to 5.0 microns, green to 2.0 microns, and blue to 1.3 microns. These wavelengths correspond to atmospheric windows through which Titan's surface is visible. The unaided human eye would see nothing but haze, as in PIA12528. The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The VIMS team is based at the University of Arizona in Tucson. More information about Cassini is available at http://www.nasa.gov/cassini and http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona/University of Idaho
Category Archives: Heroes
It is commencement time in the US. Every year, speakers have an opportunity to bore the audiences with an inspirational / educational message at higher education establishments across the nation. An exception to the rule this year seems to be … Continue reading
June 6, 1944. 180,000 Allied troops. 50 miles of beaches, with tall cliffs, and heavily fortified positions. 5,000 ships 13,000 aircraft Focused on the goal of gaining a toehold in Northern Europe, liberating the continent, and defeating Nazi Germany. General … Continue reading
A reminder piece out of Fred Thompson’s new organization.
Here’s your feel good story for this Friday. It is a little aged, as I think I saw this a couple of years ago. It’s worth 10 minutes of your time to go and watch it though. Bastogne sniper still … Continue reading
On this day 237 years ago our Corps became a reality. The first Marines were recruited, and signed their papers on this day in 1775. In a small tavern in Philadelphia the United States Marine Corps was born. Today we celebrate that … Continue reading
Rarely do I delve into the “meme” of “Someone You Should Know”. However, recent events have drawn me to three individuals that need to be singled out for doing their jobs, and paying the ultimate price for doing them well. … Continue reading
With the news out of Fallon yesterday, I am somewhat at a loss for words. As part of the military community, you understand that there will be losses. Friends that for whatever reason abruptly depart from our lives. Yesterday, saw … Continue reading
When I first started getting interested in history I gravitated toward the stories of World War II. Watching Victory at Sea, The World at War, and so on. As I grew into my teens and started to really have to … Continue reading
This is a must see film for 2012. From the operators that have seen the pre-release version, I have heard nothing but good things. After watching this vid, I begin to see exactly why.