SPHERE image of Saturn’s moon Titan
This infrared image of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, was one of the first produced by the SPHERE instrument soon after it was installed on ESO’s Very Large Telescope in May 2014. This picture shows how effective the adaptive optics system is at revealing fine detail on this tiny disc (just 0.8 arcseconds across). Titan was also a target used to test SPHERE’s polarimetric capabilities, which will be crucial to the study of some exoplanets.
This image was obtained by SPHERE at a wavelength of 1.59 micrometres. Titan is the largest satellite of Saturn (about 1.5 times the diameter of our Moon). It is covered with an extended atmosphere made mostly of nitrogen, with traces (about 1.5%) of methane. While at visible wavelengths, the surface of the satellite is hidden behind thick clouds, these near-infrared images have been obtained at a wavelength that permits to penetrate its atmosphere, and probe its surface.
ESO/J.-L. Beuzit et al./SPHERE Consortium
About the Image
|Release date:||4 June 2014, 12:00|
|Size:||1000 x 961 px|
About the Object
|Type:||• Solar System : Planet : Satellite|
• X - Solar System
Colours & filters
|Infrared||Very Large Telescope|