These images show two views of Titan's planet-wide stratospheric haze just before (left) and after (right) Cassini's first close encounter with the shrouded moon. The image on the left was taken on Oct. 25, 2004, through an ultraviolet filter, which is sensitive to scattering of sunlight by small haze particles. It shows the high-altitude haze at the north pole (top) illuminated above a surface blanketed in darkness during this winter season. Numerous striations are visible in the haze, indicating either waves passing through the layer or the presence of multiple layers. The pixel scale of this image is 2.8 kilometers (1.7 miles).
The image on the right was taken on Oct. 26, 2004, and shows Titan's night-side backlit by the Sun after Cassini's closest approach to the moon. The haze layer ringing the planet is illuminated because the small particles scatter significant sunlight in the forward direction. Variations in haze concentration and thickness around the globe are also evident and seem to be symmetric around the north pole (upper left). The pixel scale of this image is 6.6 kilometers (4.1 miles).
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.