This animation shows a mosaic of imagery from Cassini's radar instrument obtained during three flybys of Titan's north pole: T16 (July 22, 2006), T18 (Sept. 23, 2006) and T19 (Oct. 9, 2006). The most striking discovery from these flybys was the near-polar hydrocarbon lakes, which are far darker than the surrounding terrain. Ranging in size from a few kilometers up to about 100 kilometers (62 miles) in diameter, they are most likely the result of increased rainfall and decreased evaporation at the cold higher latitudes. Scientists will be looking for signs of change in lake shape in future flybys covering the same area, which may indicate changes in lake level.
The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter was designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The radar instrument was built by JPL and the Italian Space Agency, working with team members from the United States and several European countries.
For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/home/index.cfm.