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On Saturn's Giant Moon Titan, The James Webb Space Telescope

all images credited to @gooogle Saturn’s moon Titan captured by the James Webb Space Telescope’s NIRCam instrument on Nov. 4, 2022. The left image, taken through a 2.12-micron filter, shows clouds and lower atmospheric haze. The right image is a color composite using four filters. Kraken Mare is thought to be a methane sea; Belet is composed of dark-colored sand dunes; Adiri is a bright feature. (Image credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, A. Pagan [STScI]. Science: JWST Titan GTO Team)

In November, the space observatory focused its infrared telescope on Titan, Saturn's giant moon. It possesses the sole thick atmosphere in our solar system, four times denser than Earth's. Titan's atmosphere is composed primarily of nitrogen and methane, giving it a fuzzy, orange look. This heavy cloud prevents visible light from bouncing off the moon's surface, making specific details difficult.
On November 5, the Webb telescope observed a brilliant cloud in Titan's northern hemisphere and, shortly after, a second cloud in the atmosphere. The enormous cloud was discovered near Kraken Mare, Titan's most extensive known liquid sea of methane on the moon's surface.Titan possesses bodies comparable to the ones seen on Earth, but its lakes, rivers and seas are formed of liquid methane and ethane, which create clouds and showers from the sky. Titan may have an interior liquid water ocean, according to researchers.

Conor Nixon, a planetary scientist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre in Greenbelt, said that detecting clouds is exciting because it validates long-held computer model predictions about Titan's climate, which said that clouds would form quickly in the mid-northern hemisphere during late summer when the surface is warmed by the Sun
Nixon is also the Titan's principal investigator for the Webb observation programme. The scientists are reviewing the Webb data at the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii to see whether more observations could tell whether or not the clouds were moving or changing shape.
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