Titan’s CloudsClouds on one of Saturn’s moons, Titan, have been photographed by the spacecraft Cassini at 60 degrees north latitude.

Titan is 3,193 miles across (5,150 km), which is larger than the planet Mercury by 5.5% and its pole is rotated twenty-six degrees to the right.

Titan is of great interest to scientists due to its thick atmosphere, the only moon known to have one, and for the presence of stable bodies of surface liquid. This twelfth most distant moon of Saturn is described as a satellite with planet-like characteristics. A circular 275 mile (440m) wide impact crater can be seen near the center of the above image.

The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Jan. 20, 2008 using a combination of spectral filters sensitive to wavelengths of polarized infrared light centered at 938 and 746 nanometers. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 1.3 million kilometers (800,000 miles) from Titan and at a Sun-Titan-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 58 degrees.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a joint project among NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The spacecraft consists of two main elements: the NASA Cassini orbiter, named after the Italian-French astronomer Giovanni Domenico Cassini, and the ESA Huygens probe, named after the Dutch astronomer, mathematician and physicist Christiaan Huygens.

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