Land of Many Lakes

titan   The only other place in the solar system that has liquid on its surface is Saturn’s moon Titan. However the liquid in the lakes on the moon Titan are not water as the temperatures on the surface average around -180o C (-292oF). Instead the liquid that falls as precipitation is in the form of methane, ethane, and other hydrocarbons. On Titan there is a cycle of evaporation, condensation, and precipitation that is reminiscent of the water or hydrologic cycle on our planet. Most of the liquids on Titan are found in the northern hemisphere.
   The NASA/JPL Cassini mission at Saturn folks just released a short video showing a simulated flyover of part of the region in the northern hemisphere of Titan where these lakes are located. Click here to go to the web site to see the flyover video as well as for additional information about the moon Titan. Click here to see the press release and to download the full picture of the moon Titan.
   Earth, by the way, is the only place we know of in the solar system where water is found in all three states of matter, at the same time.
   Saturn is currently in the morning skies rising about an hour before the Sun rises.
Caution: Objects viewed with an optical aid are further than they appear.
   Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.

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