Sunlight confirms liquid on Saturn’s moon

Last Updated: Thursday, May 6, 2010 - 16:15

Washington: NASA`s Cassini Spacecraft has captured a glint of light reflecting from the surface of Saturn`s moon Titan, which confirms the presence of a lake filled with liquid.

The discovery makes Titan the only place besides Earth known to have a body of liquid on its surface.

Stephan et al. report the first detection of a directly visible glint, also called a specular reflection, which occurs when sunlight reflects off a smooth, mirror-like liquid surface.

NASA`s Cassini Spacecraft captured an image of the glint on 8 July 2009, and the researchers determined that it came from Kraken Mare, a large, lake-shaped basin near Titan`s north pole.

Until recently the northern polar regions of Titan had been in winter darkness since Cassini``s arrival in 2004; the recent direct illumination by sunlight made it possible to observe these optical reflections for the first time.


First Published: Thursday, May 6, 2010 - 16:15
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