ⓘ Titan, moon. Titan is one of Saturns moons. It was found by Christiaan Huygens on 25 March 1655. Titan is a unique moon because it is the solar system’s only mo ..

Titan (moon)

ⓘ Titan (moon)

Titan is one of Saturns moons. It was found by Christiaan Huygens on 25 March 1655. Titan is a unique moon because it is the solar system’s only moon to have an atmosphere.

Titan is the largest moon of Saturn and the second largest in the Solar System. Titan is larger than the planet Mercury. Its equatorial diameter wideness at the equator is 5.150 km. It orbits 1.221.865 km away from Saturn.

Titan is the only moon known to have an atmosphere and it more thicker than Earth’s. But humans could not breathe it as its very cold, and also poisonous. The air is made of nitrogen and methane. Titan is the only place in the Solar System, except Earth, that has lakes and much liquid on its surface. But the liquid is methane, not water.


1. Discovery

Titan was discovered on 25 March 1655 by Christiaan Huygens, an astronomer from the Netherlands. Earlier, in 1610, Galileo Galilei had discovered four of Jupiters moons. This inspired Huygens: he also wanted to discover new moons. Because Huygens had also improved the telescopes of the time, making them a lot better, he thought he might be able to discover a new moon.

Christiaan and his brother, Constantijn, started to build their own telescopes in 1650. Using the first telescope he ever built, Christiaan Huygens was able to see Titan. At first he called it "Luna Saturni", which means "Saturns moon" he did not know there was more than one. Through the years, lots of other moons have been discovered and today the moon is known as "Titan" or as "Saturn VI". The name "Titan", and all the names of Saturns other moons, are from the Greek legends.


2. Structure

Titan is the only moon in the Solar System that has a thick atmosphere the gases that surround a planet or moon. After the spacecraft Voyager I visited the moon on 12 November 1979, it showed that Titans surface the ground level is hidden under an atmosphere that is 900 km thick. Before this, everyone thought that Titan was the biggest moon in the Solar System. Now we know that it is the second biggest, after Ganymede, one of Jupiters moons.

Even though it is smaller, Titan is close in size to Ganymede. It is also close in size to the slightly smaller Callisto, another of Jupiters moons. Not only is Titan a big moon, it is even bigger than the planet Mercury, but it only has half as much mass it is much lighter. Because Titan does not have a lot of mass, scientist think that Titan is made of matter that is not very heavy, specifically frozen water and ammonia. Some scientists think that there is a lot of liquid water and ammonia underneath the surface, enough to fill an entire ocean. These scientists think that there might be a form of life inside this ocean.

At its centre, Titan has a rocky core that is about 3400 km thick. This core is made up of silicates and metals. The gravity the force that keeps everything attached to the ground is a lot weaker than here on earth. If you could jump 1m high on the Earth, you would be able to jump 7m high on Titan.


3. Movement

It takes Titan 15 days and 22 hours to orbit travel around Saturn. This is almost the same time it takes Saturn to rotate or spin around its own axis - one full spin. This is known as "synchronous rotation", which means that the same side of Titan is always pointed to Saturn.

The path in which Titan moves, its orbit, is very close to a circle, but not quite. We use the word "eccentricity" to describe the path that a moon or planet travels in. An image with an eccentricity of 0 zero has a path that is a perfect circle. If the eccentricity is more than 0, the path is less round see image below. Titans eccentricity is 0.028, very close to zero.


4. Cassini-Huygens mission

On July 1, 2004, the Cassini-Huygens probe entered into orbit around Saturn. On December 25, 2004, the Huygens probe separated from the Cassini probe and started to move towards Titan. It landed on Titans surface on January 14, 2005. It landed on a dry surface, but it confirmed that large bodies of liquid exist on the moon. The Cassini probe continued to gain data of Titan and a number of the icy moons. It found evidence that the moon Enceladus had water erupting from its geysers. Cassini also proved in July, 2006 that Titan contained hydrocarbon lakes, located near its north pole. In March, 2007, it discovered a large hydrocarbon lake the size of the Caspian Sea near its north pole. The lake of liquid methane has been named Kraken Mare. In 2009, Nasa showed a photograph showing the sunlight reflecting off the surface of the lake. This was the first ever picture of liquid on another world.

In 2012 researchers at NASA discovered that Titan is giving off a faint glow of light. This is believed to be caused by complex chemical reactions occurring in Titans atmosphere. This kind of light is called an airglow.

  • Titan can mean: Titan mythology a kind of god in Greek mythology Titan moon one of Saturn s moons Titan Six Flags Over Texas a roller coaster
  • The lakes of Titan a moon of Saturn, are made of liquid methane. The lakes were found by the Cassini - Huygens space probe. The larger lakes are known
  • Phoebe is a Titan in Greek mythology. She was associated with the moon She is the daughter of Uranos and Gaia. She was married to her brother Coeus, and
  • largest moon of Saturn. It has a diameter of 1, 123 km 698 miles It was discovered in 1684 by Giovanni Domenico Cassini. It is named after the titan Dione
  • Many of the moons are named after Titans Giants, or minor Greek or Roman gods. Some of Saturn s moons are very large the moon Titan is bigger than
  • Shangri - La is a large, dark area on Saturn s moon Titan It is at 10 S 165 W 10 S 165 W - 10 - 165. The place is named after Shangri - La, the imaginary
  • The Titans Greek: Τiτᾶνες, Titanes - Straining ones were members of the second generation of immortal beings in Greek mythology. Though many beings
  • distance of 1, 457, 000 km. This meant that Themis had an orbit like the moons Titan and Hyperion. Pickering believed that it took Themis 20.85 days to orbit
  • Hyperion Greek: Ὑπερίων, Hyperiōn - The High - One is the Titan god of light, son of Gaia and Ouranos. The eldest of his brothers next to Okeanos, Hyperion
  • to Ligeia Mare, a lake on Saturn s biggest moon named Titan It s purpose is to study the liquid on the moon and take scientific measurements while it