This unique movie from Cassini shows significant changes in the shapes of features in the outer haze layers of Titan's atmosphere.
The movie was created from 36 original images taken over the course of three hours as Cassini retreated from Titan, following its flyby on March 31, 2005. These observations were made about four and a half to eight hours following Cassini's closest approach during the flyby. Additional frames were inserted between the 36 Cassini images in order to smooth the movement of the atmosphere - a scheme called interpolation - for a total of 71 frames in the movie.
The most obvious changes in this movie occur in the bright layers in the middle of the arc, near the 1 o'clock position, where hazes appear to flow and merge. Near the 12 o'clock position there appears to be a wave motion that goes right to left.
The changing features represent a great deal of dynamic activity for such a cold, hazy atmosphere, but they are not inconsistent with activity observed during Cassini's first Titan encounter - in Titan's south polar region within roughly the same time scale.
The images for this movie were taken by the wide angle camera on April 1, 2005 using a filter sensitive to visible violet light and were acquired from distances ranging from approximately 99,000 to 155,000 kilometers (62,000 to 96,000 miles) from Titan. Resolution in the images changes from 6 to 9 kilometers (4 to 6 miles) per pixel during the movie. The frames have been scaled so that Titan does not appear to shrink in size as Cassini moves away.
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 Cassini-Huygens mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The imaging team consists of scientists from the US, England, France, and Germany. The imaging operations center and team lead (Dr. C. Porco) are based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.