The sunlit edge of Titan's south polar vortex stands out distinctly against the darkness of the moon’s unilluminated hazy atmosphere. The Cassini spacecraft images of the vortex led scientists to conclude that its clouds form at a much higher altitude - where sunlight can still reach - than the surrounding haze. Image released Dec. 2, 2013.

The sunlit edge of Titan's south polar vortex stands out distinctly against the darkness of the moon’s unilluminated hazy atmosphere. The Cassini spacecraft images of the vortex led scientists to conclude that its clouds form at a much higher altitude - where sunlight can still reach - than the surrounding haze. Image released Dec. 2, 2013.

T-97: Mapping Parts of Titan’s Equator in Infrared

For this close Titan flyby the Visible and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) was the prime instrument during closest approach to the surface. As the spacecraft moved from the North Pole to the South Pole, VIMS mapped the equatorial region east of Adiri. On the inbound leg, VIMS mapped the lakes and seas of the North Pole area. VIMS also looked for clouds during both the inbound leg (north pole area) and the outbound leg (high southern latitudes). Also inbound, the Imaging Science Subsystem (ISS) acquired a mosaic of the high northern latitudes on Titan's leading hemisphere, which is approaching northern summer. (Multiple observations of high northern latitudes may be needed in case of cloud cover obscuring the surface). For an extra day before the Titan encounter, ISS monitored Titan's high northern latitudes, where it will be important to track clouds and their evolution as summer approaches.