The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) observed two clouds on Titan on November 4, helping researchers discover Saturn’s moon.
The moon Titan photographed with the NIRCam device of the James Webb telescope
Titan’s moon taken with James Webb’s NIRCam camera. (Photo: NASA)
Titan is a strange celestial body somewhat similar to Earth, composed of water ice, rivers and seas filled with methane and other hydrocarbons with a thick atmosphere full of fog and sporadic methane clouds. Conor Nixon, an astronomer at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, arranged for the JWST telescope to spend a total of 15 hours during its first year observing Titan. Nixon and his colleagues particularly wish to study Titan’s atmosphere, map the distribution of fog and identify new gases. Scientists were very surprised by the data transmitted by JWST.
By examining the data, the research team determined There are two clouds, including the cloud above Kraken Mare, Titan’s largest sea. They quickly figured out how to test the clouds to see how they change over time. Nixon’s team contacted the Keck Observatory in Hawaii, which observed Titan just two days after the JWST.
“We were afraid the cloud would disappear when we observed Titan two days later with Keck,” Imke de Pater, an astronomer at the University of California, Berkeley, agreed. “But we are happy that the clouds are still in the same position, it looks like they have changed shape.”
Scientists predict Cloud activity increases Because Titan’s northern hemisphere experiences summer and receives more solar radiation. They identified clouds in magnetic images Near infrared camera (NIRCam) from JWST, a powerful camera can capture images of targets at several different wavelengths of light. In Titan’s case, this allowed the team to isolate the lower atmosphere.
Researchers have not yet finished evaluating all of the NIRCam data. Near Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRSpec) JWST also collects data. For example, the device can separate light reflected from Titan’s atmosphere and measure the amount of each wavelength of light. JWST is also expected to observe Titan’s haze in May or June 2023, this time until Mid-infrared device (MIRI), helps to better understand the chemical composition of Titan’s atmosphere.
Observing Titan is particularly important. NASA’s Cassini mission reached Saturn in 2004 and flew by the Moon more than 100 times before ceasing operations in 2017. NASA is developing a new mission called Dragonfly, in which the drone will fly in the foggy skies of Titan.
Article source: VnExpress
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The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) observed two clouds on Titan on November 4, helping researchers explore Saturn’s moon. Titan Moon…