Purple haze on Titan — a misty trail of the past




Saturn's largest moon — Titan — surrounded by purple stratospheric haze seems to softly glowing sphere painted this picture, taken third in July 2004. Titanium has a dense atmosphere consisting primarily of nitrogen with a small addition of methane. In this atmosphere, the chemical processes can occur as a result of which produce haze.

• A picture of the stratosphere of Titan

These pictures may show a number of key stages in the formation and evolution of the haze. It is believed that the process begins in the upper atmosphere, at an altitude of 400 kilometers. Wherein ultraviolet light decomposes the methane molecules and nitrogen. The reaction products react to complex with organic compounds containing carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen, with the result that there are small particles forming haze.

This image of Titan in ultraviolet light was painted. The main part of the satellite has been painted a pale orange as it looks in the pictures in the optical part of the spectrum. Above the orange disc are two distinct layers haze. While scientists can not explain why the two layers are different. This and many other questions are waiting for an explanation during the four-year expedition "Cassini".


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