Titan's haze is dropping

Change in elevation of cloudy layer suggests seasonal cycles

9:23am, March 20, 2012

THE WOODLANDS, Texas — The sky is falling on Titan. An upper layer of the Saturnian moon’s hazy shroud has plunged more than 100 kilometers since the Cassini spacecraft whizzed by in 2004, suggesting that shifting seasons can do more than dump rain.

Early Cassini images revealed a smoggy world circled by a detached, hazy layer that hovered 500 kilometers above the moon’s surface. Now, new images reveal, that layer has sunk to an altitude of around 360 kilometers, said Robert West of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., on March 19 at the 43rd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference.

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