Using Earth-based radar to penetrate the thick atmosphere of Saturn's moon Titan, planetary scientists have confirmed that the smog-shrouded moon is unique among known residents of the solar system. The new radar observations suggest more strongly than has any previous study that lakes or oceans of hydrocarbons cover large stretches of the moon's surface.
Cornell astronomer Donald B. Campbell and his colleagues used the 305-meter Arecibo Radio Telescope in Puerto Rico to bathe the Saturnian moon, about 1 billion kilometers distant, with 900 kilowatts of microwaves. Traveling through the moon's atmosphere and bouncing off its surface, the microwaves returned to Earth after a 135-minute round-trip journey.
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