Surprisingly "flat" Titan is soft on the inside
Saturday, April 4, 2009
The giant Saturn moon Titan appears to be surprisingly non-spherical, which suggests that the interior of Titan huge reservoirs of liquid methane houses. Titan has a diameter of 5150 kilometers, which is larger than Mercury and only slightly smaller than the largest moon in the solar system: Jupiter's Ganymede. By means of reflected radio signals, the Cassini Saturn Explorer for the first form of Titan know them.
An analysis of these data shows that Titan is not a perfect ball shape - a disturbed egg-like something is a better description of the form that is observed by Cassini. The poles of Titan are so flat that the surface 700 meters lower than at the equator. This degree of flattening is much higher than expected and can not be explained on the basis of the current orbit of Titan.
Instead, Titan ever closer to Saturn have been. In a smaller, faster orbit Titan would also quickly have turned around its axis - at least if we assume that Titan also when a tide has been closing, with the moon always with the same side facing Saturn points (just as now the case with Titan , as well as our own moon).
For the current degree of flattening to declare Titan would ever 23% closer to Saturn should have been. It is not known why later on Titan would be shifted outwards. The lower height of the poles is a good explanation for why the lakes of hydrocarbons, in recent years discovered only in the polar regions of Titan as well.
If Titan huge underground reserves of hydrocarbons houses, then the area lakes are simply the locations where the surface is low enough for some of these liquids to uncover. This is not the only possible explanation. It is also possible that the weather at the poles resulting in more precipitation of hydrocarbons in comparison with the rest of Titan.
If Titan is indeed enormous reservoirs of methane and ethane hold would create a beautiful explain the high concentration of methane in the atmosphere of Titan. Chemical reactions of methane that would have been long destroyed, unless the system is supplemented by a source much greater than the purely by surface lakes can be supplemented.
Original source: New Scientist
Translated version of http://www.star-people.nl/index.php?module=news&id=151
Translated version of http://www.astrostart.nl/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1568&Ite mid=1