Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Will we see waves on Saturn's moon?

Waves on Lake Superior, generally considered the largest freshwater lake in the world by surface area, and very nearly as large as Ireland. Will we see waves like these on the Sea of Ligeia? Named after one of the sirens in Greek mythology, this sea is half as large again as Lake Superior and is located on Saturn’s moon Titan. It's filled not with water but liquid hydrocarbons, such as ethane and methane. Here's an image of it compared to a map of Ireland on the same scale (as near as I can estimate it).

The image is a false-colour mosaic of radar images obtained by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft between February 2006 and April 2007. What Cassini will look for next is waves on the surface of this sea. The NASA website says this will be on May 23, 2013.

So did Cassini detect waves last month or not? As yet I can find no account of this. Does all this make the hairs stand up on your neck? Mine do. More spooky thoughts about Titan.

Ligeia Mare is one of the many seas and lakes that bejewel Titan's north polar region, and is the second largest known body of liquid on Titan.