September 28, 2015
Titan and Saturn have few things in common, but a hazy, clouded appearance is one feature they share. Although their faces seem similar in images like this, appearances can be misleading.
Both Saturn and Titan have thick atmospheres, in a relative sense. But Saturn is a gas giant, covered in clouds, with no solid surface to speak of. Titan's atmosphere is a blanket of dense haze -- a photochemical smog -- surrounding an icy, solid body. Even their atmospheric compositions are different; Saturn is mostly hydrogen and helium with clouds of water, ammonia and ammonium hydrosulfide. Titan's atmosphere is primarily nitrogen and methane, with occasional methane clouds.
This view looks toward Saturn from the unilluminated side of the rings, 0.3 degrees below the ring plane. The image was taken in visible green light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on May 22, 2015.
The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 1.4 million miles (2.2 million kilometers) from Saturn. Image scale is 81 miles (130 kilometers) per pixel.
The Cassini mission is a cooperative project of NASA, ESA (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. 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, Colorado.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute