NASA’s Cassini spacecraft spotted fresh rainfall on Saturn’s moon Titan
NASA’s Cassini orbiter has been dead for well over a year now, but its incredible discoveries continue to trickle in as researchers pore over data and images it collected while it was active.
Consequently, studies focused on the orbiter’s findings continue to crop up on a regular basis, such as a recent study from University of Idaho in Moscow doctoral student Rajani Dhingra, who, along with her colleagues, found evidence of rainfall on the north pole of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, in an image taken on June 7th, 2016. This indicates that summer had arrived on the moon’s northern hemisphere later than climate models had predicted.
“The whole Titan community has been looking forward to seeing clouds and rains on Titan’s north pole, indicating the start of the northern summer, but despite what the climate models had predicted, we weren’t even seeing any clouds,” said Dhingra, lead author of the study. “People called it the curious case of missing clouds.”
Dhingra and her colleagues spotted a reflective feature near the north pole of Titan in the aforementioned image — a feature which covered approximately 46,332 square miles — which had never appeared before, and didn’t appear when Cassini passed by again. Dhingra concluded that the reflective nature of the feature was due to sunlight reflecting off of a wet surface, which she believes was the result of a methane rainfall event.
This is the first time summer rainfall has ever been observed on Titan. While Earth experiences four seasons over the course of a year, a single season on Titan lasts seven Earth years. When Cassini reached Titan, clouds and rainfall were observed in the southern hemisphere, signaling a southern summer. Climate models predicted the rain would move to the northern hemisphere “leading up to the northern summer solstice in 2017,” but the clouds still hadn’t appeared by 2016. The images above should help reseachers understand why this was the case.
We want our model predictions to match our observations. This rainfall detection proves Cassini’s climate follows the theoretical climate models we know of,” Dhingra said. “Summer is happening. It was delayed, but it’s happening. We will have to figure out what caused the delay, though.”
译文来源：幸运飞艇 /46892.html 译者：Jessica.Wu
CJA23 hours ago
These articles are reminders that the human race can achieve amazing things when our focus is science
Choupique4 hours ago
Raining methane? Imagine being there and striking a match to see where you're at.
Richard4 hours ago
I bet that Methane is cold !
Chris10 hours ago
Nice to have evidence that backs a prediction.
W11 hours ago
Condensed flocky methane falling to the ground is not "rain" and never was, at least not on this Earth.
James4 hours ago
No they are mistaken. Cassini was built with some Japanese transmission parts which failed while the orbiter was approaching Titan
Jan2 hours ago
Mark2 hours ago
President Trump has canceled a trip until the rain clears up.
Burning2nd3 hours ago
hOW does liquid stay liquid that far from the sun... I think "its raining" is a little misleading
Bitis_Gabonica52 minutes ago
University of Idaho in Moscow... I had to look that up. Sure enough it's in Moscow, Idaho. I could have so much fun with an address there!
B Randal3 hours ago
I love the misleading title, rainfall and then in the article they really have no idea what they are observing and they THINK it is METHANE rainfall. Why does anyone believe science any more. BEWARE OF SCIENCE FALSELY SO CALLED.
Bashin Time4 hours ago
wow, look at that awesome CGI of fake space!......NASA has the best cartoons!...….(nobody believes your fake moon landing anymore)
Michael s3 hours ago
Its gotta be the result of man made climate change.
puddintane6 hours ago
... and its Antarctic water that burst into steam because of global warming
ronald1 hour ago
Oh, Methane... Yeah I thought it might be a little too cold there for liquid water.
Mangez Ma Merde1 hour ago
Trump was going to visit Titan to honor America's war dead, but canceled when someone told him it rains methane on Titan.
Tommy Boy3 hours ago
Sure they did. We can't find a missing jumbo jet on earth but they claim to know it's raining on a distant planet or one of their moons.
Dimitz1 hour ago
There's nothing more refreshing than liquid methane.
NickD2 hours ago
They don't know its rain, they are concluding it is rain.
M4 hours ago
Okay, all planets had life (organisms). If they were too close to the sun. Done...too far away, froze. Ta-da
Black Tear16 minutes ago
Which means nothing, SImply because there is water does not mean there is life, I think people need to understand that, Just because it is required for earth, donset mean it is for other planets.
James E7 hours ago
Walking in a me-thane rain....sounds so ramantic
Catorce144 hours ago
Yes, there might be unusual beings there. But probably not the kind that progressives can mate with.
k46 minutes ago
I thought Methane came from Uranus
TeeitupAB3 hours ago
Run for your lives!! It's raining arrows!
Let It Ride2 hours ago
AAH, nothing smell better than fresh Methane.
Rob1 hour ago
Sadly this will be buried by political news.
jo3 hours ago
gonna need a bigger fire extinguisher ....
Just Me4 hours ago