Titan’s haze gives clues to clouds on exoplanets

Studying haze in the atmosphere of Titan, Saturn's largest moon, may give astronomers a better sense of how the cloud layers can affect calculations of exoplanets' size and other characteristics.

JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute/NASA

Titan’s hazy atmosphere may help astronomers better understand what’s going on in the clouds of exoplanets. Data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft suggest that haze in a moon’s or planet’s atmosphere can block signatures of important gases and limit the characteristics, such as size, that astronomers can infer about the body.

The results, which appear May 26 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, provide a way of testing proposed approaches for determining exoplanets’ characteristics, the researchers write.

photo of Ashley Yeager

Ashley Yeager is the associate news editor at Science News. She has worked at The Scientist, the Simons Foundation, Duke University and the W.M. Keck Observatory, and was the web producer for Science News from 2013 to 2015. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and a master’s degree in science writing from MIT.

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