Raining methane on Titan

Astronomers are now able to forecast rain – methane rain – on Saturn’s biggest moon Titan.

Lakes on Titan bigger than Lake Superior - Credit: NASA/JPL/GSFC

Cassini radar image (on left) of the largest body of liquid ever found on Titan’s north pole, compared to Lake Superior (on right). Scientists believe that this lake, and others like it, are most likely liquid methane and ethane.

The new study may help explain the rivers, lakes and clouds of methane on Titan.

The scientists detailed their findings in the Jan. 5 issue of the journal Nature.


Hydrocarbon lakes on Titan - Credit: NASA/JPL

The Cassini spacecraft has discovered very strong evidence for hydrocarbon lakes on Titan. Dark lake-like patches are scattered all over the high latitudes surrounding Titan’s north pole.

As I ask in “Magnetic Reversals and Evolutionary Leaps” (p. 136),
Why not here?

If carbon can form in Titan’s hazy skies, if crude oil can rain out of Jupiter’s skies, then why not here?


4 thoughts on “Raining methane on Titan”

  1. Robert, excuse my ignorance but when you say “crude oil” raining, do you mean the methane ?
    I remember you mentioned this in your book.
    I know ethane is what we make plastic from but is the oil you speak of the same as that we extract from a normal oil well?

    • I can’t really answer that. Some of the articles about the Cassini mission call it oil. Some of them call it hydrocarbons. Some of them call it methane.


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