December 16, 2004
Huygens floating in the Titan night
+ High Res .
This artist's rendition shows the Huygens probe floating in a methane/ethane lake on Titan. Hydrocarbons produced in the atmosphere eventually condense and rain down on the surface. So, Titan may have lakes of ethane and methane. Mountains of rock and ice are visible in the distance.
In this night view, long after the probe mission is over, the surface of Titan is illuminated by sunlight reflected by Saturn and passing through Titan's thick atmosphere. To the human eye, the atmosphere is opaque, but in the infrared there are "windows" (or wavelengths) where the atmosphere is more transparent, as indicated in this artwork.
Image by Gregor Kervina, Ljubljana, Slovenia.