May 5, 2011
The change in Titan's haze layer is illustrated in this figure, derived from data obtained by NASA's Cassini spacecraft. The picture of Titan in panel a was taken on May 3, 2006, while the picture in panel b was taken on April 2, 2010, several months after Titan's equinox in August of 2009. The geometries and solar illumination in both images are similar, though Titan's north pole is at about the one o'clock position (32 degrees) from vertical in panel a and nearly vertical in panel b. Pictures c and d magnify the outer regions and show the difference in altitude of the haze layer (near 500 kilometers [310 miles] in c and near 380 km [240 miles] in d).
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 and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.