Explainer: The chemistry of Titan

New research from the Astrophysical Journal has identified some of the intricate molecules and reactions happening on the surface of Titan, Saturn’s largest moon. How do we identify individual chemicals? Even on Earth, it can be very difficult to figure out the chemical composition of substances. Molecules are too small to see with most technology, so chemists … Continue reading Explainer: The chemistry of Titan

The dynamic world of Titan’s lakes

Lakes on Saturn’s giant moon Titan can stratify and overturn, scientists say, much like lakes on Earth. They may also be able to produce giant gas eruptions akin to popping the cork on an enormous bottle of Champagne. Stratification occurs when lakes form layers of different density.  On Earth, this most commonly occurs when summer … Continue reading The dynamic world of Titan’s lakes

Summer on Saturn and an icy pole

Sometimes all you need for a great photo is an interesting subject. Here we present two such examples. Above is a striking image of Saturn in its northern hemisphere summer, with its finely etched concentric ring structure nicely resolved and two of its icy moons just visible: Mimas at right, and Enceladus at bottom. NASA’s … Continue reading Summer on Saturn and an icy pole

An idea about Saturn’s atmosphere

How and why the upper layers of the atmospheres of Saturn, Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune are hot has been one of the mysteries of planetary science. The Sun is too far away, so what is the heat source? In the case of Saturn, it may be auroras at its north and south poles. NASA says … Continue reading An idea about Saturn’s atmosphere