Cassini video shows methane clouds develop and fade over Titan

The time-lapse movie may answer some questions about Titan’s cloud dynamics
By | Published: November 8, 2016 | Last updated on May 18, 2023
A still from Cassini’s video of methane clouds over Titan. See the full video below.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft took a video of methane clouds moving across Saturn’s moon, Titan.

The video, which was made using one the one frame taken every 20 minutes and is about 11 hours long, shows clouds develop, move across the planet-sized moon, and then fade into nothing. 

Individual steaks also appear in the video and then fade and were moving at an estimated speed of between 14 and 22 miles per hour (or 7 to 10 meters per second).

Most of the images Cassini has taken so far have been taken days, sometimes weeks, apart. This movie, being made from an 11 hour time-lapse, makes it easier for scientists to observe the dynamics of clouds, noises, and faint clouds or fogs. This new observation suggests that Titan’s changing seasons isn’t over yet.

The video was taken using the narrow-angle camera, which uses infrared filters and makes it possible to see the methane clouds. Cassini will continue to study Titan and it’s weather well into 2017, especially around summer solstice.