Ghostly Pic Of Saturn’s Moon Shows It Rising From The Deep

Sunlight can do fun things in space. For example: this recent picture of Titan (a moon of Saturn) shows sunlight hitting the moon’s surface as well as a southern vortex, just visible in the shadows of the picture.

“The sunlit edge of Titan’s south polar vortex stands out distinctly against the darkness of the moon’s unilluminated hazy atmosphere,” NASA stated. “The Cassini spacecraft images of the vortex led scientists to conclude that its clouds form at a much higher altitude — where sunlight can still reach — than the surrounding haze.”

Titan has intrigued scientists for decades, since the Voyager spacecraft first revealed it as a world socked in by orange haze. Cassini dropped off a lander on the surface, called Huygens, which took pictures on the surface in 2005. Besides that, the orbiter has revealed a lot about lakes, rain and other features of the moon in the year since.

Cassini has been orbiting the moon since 2004 and is still busily producing science, but there are concerns that NASA’s budget situation could cause the agency to shut down operations on the still-healthy spacecraft. There are no other missions to Saturn or Titan booked yet, although scientists do have intriguing ideas for exploration.