Compared to the puffy methane and ethane clouds found before in a lower part of the atmosphere by both ground-based observers and in images taken by Cassini's imaging science subsystem and visual and infrared mapping spectrometer, these clouds are much thinner and located higher in the atmosphere. "They are very tenuous and very easy to miss," says Anderson, the paper's lead author. "The only earlier hints that they existed were faint glimpses that NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft caught as it flew by Titan in 1980."

The full story is online at: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/cassini/whycassini/titan-clouds.html.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The CIRS team is based at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., where the instrument was built.




Written by Elizabeth Zubritsky/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

Media contact: Jia-Rui Cook/Priscilla Vega
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
818-354-0850/354-1357
jccook@jpl.nasa.gov / Priscilla.r.vega@jpl.nasa.gov

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