When NASA sent out a teaser on Monday stating that an exciting news awaits the world on Sept. 26, many were up in their seats awaiting the breaking news. Early hints were at a possible Earth-Like atmosphere on Europa while another group suggested alien life. Perhaps NASA wants to divert the attention of the page on Ophiuchus, the 13th zodiac sign left out by Babylonians 3,000 years ago.
Since Sept. 26 is too far and Ophiuchus is not fading away from news, NASA has given an interim news about an impossible cloud building on Titan, the largest moon of Saturn.
While many were confused if this was the great news from NASA, on September 26, 2016, NASA has revealed that the ice cloud on Titan seemingly out of thin air could be similar to one seen over Earth’s poles.
The revelation is that Titan’s stratosphere and the cloud is made of a compound of carbon and nitrogen known as dicyanoacetylene (C4N2), an ingredient in the chemical cocktail that colors the giant moon’s hazy, brownish-orange atmosphere, said NASA. Originally found by NASA’s Voyager 1, the ice cloud was again observed from Cassini’s composite infrared spectrometer (CIRS), which reported that Titan’s stratosphere is as dry as a desert.
"The appearance of this ice cloud goes against everything we know about the way clouds form on Titan," said Carrie Anderson, a CIRS expert at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. The dicyanoacetylene ice wouldn’t make direct contact with the atmosphere, which makes the ice and the vapor forms not be in the expected equilibrium.
"The compositions of the polar stratospheres of Titan and Earth could not differ more," said Michael Flasar, CIRS principal investigator. "It is amazing to see how well the underlying physics of both atmospheres has led to analogous cloud chemistry." The findings are published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.