Publication Abstracts

Stofan et al. 2007

Stofan, E.R., C. Elachi, J.I. Lunine, R.D. Lorenz, B. Stiles, K.L. Mitchell, S. Ostro, L. Soderblom, C. Wood, H. Zebker, S. Wall, M. Janssen, R. Kirk, R. Lopes, F. Paganelli, J. Radebaugh, L. Wye, Y. Anderson, M. Allison, R. Boehmer, P. Callahan, P. Encrenaz, E. Flamini, G. Francescetti, Y. Gim, G. Hamilton, S. Hensley, W.T.K. Johnson, K. Kelleher, D. Muhleman, P. Paillou, G. Picardi, F. Posa, L. Roth, R. Seu, S. Shaffer, S. Vetrella, and R. West, 2007: The lakes of Titan. Nature, 445, 61-64, doi:10.1038/445029a.

The surface of Saturn's haze-shrouded moon Titan has long been proposed to have oceans or lakes, on the basis of the stability of liquid methane at the surface. Initial visible and radar imaging failed to find any evidence of an ocean, although abundant evidence was found that flowing liquids have existed on the surface. Here we provide definitive evidence for the presence of lakes on the surface of Titan, obtained during the Cassini Radar flyby of Titan on 22 July 2006 (T16). The radar imaging polewards of 70° north shows more than 75 circular to irregular radar-dark patches, in a region where liquid methane and ethane are expected to be abundant and stable on the surface. The radar-dark patches are interpreted as lakes on the basis of their very low radar reflectivity and morphological similarities to lakes, including associated channels and location in topographic depressions. Some of the lakes do not completely fill the depressions in which they lie, and apparently dry depressions are present. We interpret this to indicate that lakes are present in a number of states, including partly dry and liquid-filled. These northern-hemisphere lakes constitute the strongest evidence yet that a condensable-liquid hydrological cycle is active in Titan's surface and atmosphere, in which the lakes are filled through rainfall and/or intersection with the subsurface "liquid methane" table.

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BibTeX Citation

  author={Stofan, E. R. and Elachi, C. and Lunine, J. I. and Lorenz, R. D. and Stiles, B. and Mitchell, K. L. and Ostro, S. and Soderblom, L. and Wood, C. and Zebker, H. and Wall, S. and Janssen, M. and Kirk, R. and Lopes, R. and Paganelli, F. and Radebaugh, J. and Wye, L. and Anderson, Y. and Allison, M. and Boehmer, R. and Callahan, P. and Encrenaz, P. and Flamini, E. and Francescetti, G. and Gim, Y. and Hamilton, G. and Hensley, S. and Johnson, W. T. K. and Kelleher, K. and Muhleman, D. and Paillou, P. and Picardi, G. and Posa, F. and Roth, L. and Seu, R. and Shaffer, S. and Vetrella, S. and West, R.},
  title={The lakes of Titan},

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RIS Citation

ID  - st03610c
AU  - Stofan, E. R.
AU  - Elachi, C.
AU  - Lunine, J. I.
AU  - Lorenz, R. D.
AU  - Stiles, B.
AU  - Mitchell, K. L.
AU  - Ostro, S.
AU  - Soderblom, L.
AU  - Wood, C.
AU  - Zebker, H.
AU  - Wall, S.
AU  - Janssen, M.
AU  - Kirk, R.
AU  - Lopes, R.
AU  - Paganelli, F.
AU  - Radebaugh, J.
AU  - Wye, L.
AU  - Anderson, Y.
AU  - Allison, M.
AU  - Boehmer, R.
AU  - Callahan, P.
AU  - Encrenaz, P.
AU  - Flamini, E.
AU  - Francescetti, G.
AU  - Gim, Y.
AU  - Hamilton, G.
AU  - Hensley, S.
AU  - Johnson, W. T. K.
AU  - Kelleher, K.
AU  - Muhleman, D.
AU  - Paillou, P.
AU  - Picardi, G.
AU  - Posa, F.
AU  - Roth, L.
AU  - Seu, R.
AU  - Shaffer, S.
AU  - Vetrella, S.
AU  - West, R.
PY  - 2007
TI  - The lakes of Titan
JA  - Nature
VL  - 445
SP  - 61
EP  - 64
DO  - 10.1038/445029a
ER  -

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