Monday, June 23, 2014

Mystery Object in Lake on Saturn's Moon Titan | PHOTOs

Mystery Object in Lake on Saturn's Moon Titan
The mystery object, described as a 'magic island' appeared out of nowhere in radar images of a hydrocarbon sea on Saturn's giant moon, Titan. (Credit: NASA)

By Ian Sample
www.theguardian.com
6-22-14
Nasa's Cassini probe took image last year as it passed by planet's largest moon – nothing seen when other images taken

     Scientists are investigating a mystery object that appeared for a moment and then vanished again from a giant lake on Titan, the largest moon of Saturn.

They spotted the object in an image taken by Nasa's Cassini probe as it swung around the alien moon last year more than a billion kilometres from Earth. Pictures taken of the same spot saw nothing before or some days later.

Little more than a white blob on a grainy image of Titan's northern hemisphere, the sighting may be a huge iceberg that broke free of the shoreline, an effect of rising bubbles, or waves rolling across the normally placid lake's surface, scientists say.

Astronomers have named the blob the "magic island" until they have a better idea what they are looking at. "We can't be sure what it is yet because we only have the one image, but it's not something you would normally see on Titan," said Jason Hofgartner, a planetary scientist at Cornell University in New York. "It is not something that has been there permanently." . . .



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