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Frost Appears to Form on Titan's Rain-Wetted Surface
An area called Yalaing Terra showed changes that occurred over a nine-year period.  Two years after a 2009 flyby (top left), Cassini's VIMS instrument saw evident change in the brightness and spectrum (top right).  Data from Cassini's imaging Science Subsystem also supports the theory that the bright area is frost that iced the surface after a rainstorm. Image Credit: NASA/Cassini-VIMS/Two images showing an example of surface frost on Titan.
An area called Yalaing Terra showed changes that occurred over a nine-year period. Two years after a 2009 flyby (top left), Cassini's VIMS instrument saw evident change in the brightness and spectrum (top right). Data from Cassini's imaging Science Subsystem also supports the theory that the bright area is frost that iced the surface after a rainstorm. Image Credit: NASA/Cassini-VIMS
Top row of images: Before the cloudburst.  Middle two rows of images: Darkened wet ground after the rainstorm.  Bottom row of images: A bright, possibly frosty surface after the wetness evaporates./Cassini images of Saturn's moon Titan.  Top row of images: Before the cloudburst.  Middle two rows of images: Darkened wet ground after the rainstorm.  Bottom row of images: A bright, possibly frosty surface after the wetness evaporates.
Top row of images: Before the cloudburst. Middle two rows of images: Darkened wet ground after the rainstorm. Bottom row of images: A bright, possibly frosty surface after the wetness evaporates.

Significance: For the first time, apparent frost linked to rainfall has been observed on another body in the solar system. Frost appeared to form on Saturn's moon Titan in the wake of a storm. Hydrocarbon rain-darkened the surface in an area called Yalaing Terra. Later, data from Cassini's Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS), Imaging Science Subsystem (ISS) and RADAR were used in the analysis of surface brightening at four locations after cloud-bursts on Titan. The bright, frosty-looking area gradually faded over the course of about a year.

Last Updated: 22 November 2013

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Last Updated: 22 Nov 2013