Permanent Human Settlement of the Earth, Space and Ocean Frontiers

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Jewel of Saturn

Shown here is a photo of Saturn’s titanic moon Titan set against Saturn’s rings. Here we can see the sun behind Titan and shining through its atmosphere. The astonishing thing about Titan’s atmosphere is its characteristics. It has an atmosphere 1.6 times as dense as earths. That’s about like being at a depth of 21 feet of sea water. Even though Titan is enormous as moons go – it is larger than the planet Mercury, its density is quite unlike Mercury or earth. It is mostly water ice, so its density is less and therefore its gravity is less. Add all that up and it means that Titan’s atmosphere is deep because its gravity cannot hold it in close as does the earth’s.
Therefore, in this photo one can see the thickness of the atmosphere as it reflects light though it like an enormous celestial jewel. The atmosphere around Titan is ten times as deep as earth’s atmosphere, rising some 500 miles into space!