CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS

Haze Before Ice
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Haze Before Ice
PIA 14911

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  Saturn's moon Tethys, with its stark white icy surface, peeps out from behind the larger, hazy, colorful Titan in this view of the two moons obtained by NASA's Cassini spacecraft. Saturn's rings lie between the two.

The north polar hood can be seen on Titan appearing as a detached layer at the top of the moon here. See PIA08137 and PIA09739 to learn more about Titan's atmosphere and the north polar hood.

Ithaca Chasma, a long series of scarps or cliffs on Tethys, can be seen faintly running north-south on that moon. See PIA10460 to learn more.

This view looks toward the side of Titan (3,200 miles or 5,150 kilometers across) facing away from Saturn and the side of Tethys (660 miles or 1,062 kilometers across) facing Saturn. This view looks toward the northern, sunlit side of the rings from just above the ring plane.

Images taken using red, green and blue spectral filters were combined to create this natural color view. The images were acquired with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on May 21, 2011, at a distance of approximately 1.4 million miles (2.3 million kilometers) from Titan and 2.4 million miles (3.8 million kilometers) from Tethys. Image scale is 9 miles (14 kilometers) per pixel on Titan and 18 miles (27 kilometers) per pixel on Tethys.

The Cassini Solstice Mission is a joint United States and European endeavor. 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 was designed, developed and assembled at JPL. 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.

For more information about the Cassini Solstice Mission visit, and

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
Released: December 22, 2011 (PIA 14911)
Image/Caption Information

Alliance Member Comments
NeKto (Mar 17, 2012 at 8:01 AM):
Another source lists the atmosphere on Titan as 600 Kilometers deep. they must be counting the real wispy stuff. either way the ice ball has a very thick envelope around it. no wonder impact evidence is so hard to come by.
NeKto (Feb 21, 2012 at 8:12 AM):
I just looked up the gravity on Titan; 0.14 Earth gravity.(didn't think of doing that before i asked here)
for Titan to maintain 1.5 atmospheres pressure at 0.14 G, there has to be one heck of a mass of gas in those 200 kilometers of atmosphere.
i nominate Titan for a new class of solar system bodies; Gas Midget.
a hot 'air' balloon aught to work like gangbusters up there.
NeKto (Feb 15, 2012 at 11:16 AM):
What is the gravity on Titan?
GorT> (Feb 3, 2012 at 7:23 PM):
If the Northern pole is somewhat composed of CO2, then there must be a small thimble of breathable O2 at the very top.
NeKto (Jan 27, 2012 at 9:35 AM):
not Tital, Titan.
(i hate when my fingers hit the wrong key)
NeKto (Jan 27, 2012 at 9:32 AM):
when i mentioned that i know it is raining on Tital, i should have added an LOL.
as to Where i have been; Golfing on Iapetus!
NeKto (Jan 25, 2012 at 12:58 PM):
Carolyn; i know that. the higher condensation temperature might help me wrap my mind around those great 'gas' lakes. Do we have any measurements that can tell us anything about how much of that rain is ethane?
if we had that much liquid methane available down here, we would really have a greenhouse gas problem!
carolyn (CICLOPS) (Jan 24, 2012 at 9:45 AM):
NeKto: Where have you been?! ;-) It IS raining methane on Titan!!
NeKto (Jan 24, 2012 at 8:09 AM):
200 kilometers deep! you can orbit Earth at 200 kilometers. how much does the 1.5 atmosphere presure raise the condensation temperature for ethane and methane? that much presure should make it easier to rain.
what a fascinating system! what a colection of extremes. Titan's atmosphere; the "paint job" on Iapitus; the gysers on Enceledus; the weather on Saturn; and the whole ring thing.
when do we get a half dozen more probes up there to study all this big time? (yeah, right)
Kliitu (Jan 14, 2012 at 4:43 PM):
I hate Bud Ice! Does the polar hood have anything to do with the atmospheric ice suspension? Could one say the polar hood is over 50% O2?
NeKto (Jan 3, 2012 at 8:32 AM):
as i recall, the depth of Titan's atmosphere is rather asounding as well. how does that compare with other solid surfaced objects in the solar system that have atmospheres? i believe that the depth of atmosphere in relation to size has to be the greatest.
NeKto (Dec 28, 2011 at 8:33 AM):
hefty and cold too. dense stuff down (up?) there. maybe the next probe this planet sends to Titan should be powered by a wind generator.
carolyn (CICLOPS) (Dec 24, 2011 at 1:54 PM):
NeKto: The atmospheric pressure at the surface of Titan is about 1.5 times what it is here on Earth. It's a very hefty atmosphere!
NeKto (Dec 23, 2011 at 3:14 PM):
Hello Team.
Do we know what the atmospheric presure is on the surface of Titan? i don't recall seeing it published anywhere.
if you do know, please, What is it?

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