NASA’s Cassini probe photographed the polar vortex — or mass of swirling gas — throughout a flyby of Titan on June 27. The vortex appears to full one total rotation in nine hours, although it takes Titan about 16 days to spin after about its axis.
“The structure inside the vortex is reminiscent of the open cellular convection that is typically seen over Earth’s oceans,” Tony Del Genio, a Cassini team member at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, stated in a statement.
“But in contrast to on Earth, exactly where such layers are just above the surface, this one is at really high altitude, perhaps a response of Titan’s stratosphere to seasonal cooling as southern winter approaches,” he added. “But so soon in the game, we’re not sure.
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Strange Vortex Discovered on Saturn Moon Titan by SPACE.com Staff Date: 10 July 2012 Time: 06:27 PM ET FOLLOW US SHARE This true color image captured by NASA’S Cassini spacecraft before a distant flyby of Saturn’s moon Titan on June 27, 2012, shows a south polar vortex swirling in the moon’s atmosphere.