CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS

A Clear View of Titan's Surface
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Titan's surface and atmospheric features are shown here in this processed visible light image taken by Cassini.

Cassini's visible light spectral filter is sensitive to a broad range of light, from ultraviolet to near-infrared. Imaging scientists normally use a narrow-band filter centered at 938 nanometers to look at Titan's surface and cloud features (see PIA06154). Most images of Titan taken between flybys are in visible light, and are used to navigate the spacecraft. Views like these demonstrate that the surface, as well atmospheric features (such as the haze banding seen near the northern limb of Titan),can indeed be seen through this filter.

Although the clear filter is not the best way to view the surface, this observation demonstrates that with sufficient processing, this filter can be used to track of cloud features in inter-flyby periods and thus provide a better understanding of the evolution of Titan's atmosphere as the moon nears spring in the northern hemisphere.

This image was taken on February 10, 2004 from a distance of 2.5 million kilometers (1.6 million miles). The image scale is 15 kilometers (9.5 miles) per pixel. The images was strongly enhanced to bring out surface features. Features on the eastern side of this image will be observed at 20 times this resolution during a flyby in late March.

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.

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission, visit and the Cassini imaging team home page,

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Released: February 17, 2005 (PIA 06186)
Image/Caption Information
  A Clear View of Titan's Surface
PIA 06186

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