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Unmanned > Outer Solar System > Saturn > Cassini Huygens > Cassini general discussion and science results
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UMSF members and friends are welcome to attend a very special lecture by Dr. Jonathan Lunine on Tuesday Feb 27 in Princeton, NJ, USA at 8 PM hosted by The Amateur Astronomers Association of Princeton (AAAP).

The Amateur Astronomers Association of Princeton
Special Science Meeting
February 27, 2007
Tuesday 8 PM
Peyton Hall (Ivy Lane) - Princeton University Campus

(Princeton, NJ) - Dr. Jonathan I. Lunine, Professor of Planetary Sciences at the Lunar and Planetary Lab of the University of Arizona, will present a Special Science Lecture on Tuesday, February 27 at 8 PM in Peyton Hall for a special meeting of the AAAP. His talk is titled "Methane Lakes and Methane Rain on Titan: What it All Means". The public is invited. AAAP web site:

He will discuss the remarkable discovery of liquid lakes on Saturnís exotic moon Titan. The scientific evidence confirming these lakes has just published on the "cover" of the journal "Nature" on 4 Jan 2007. Titan is the most Earth-like body in our Solar System. Methane plays the role of water on Earth, profoundly affecting the climate, weather systems, surface geology and tectonics.

For complete details and directions to Peyton Hall, please visit the AAAP website or contact me:

Ken Kremer

Program/Lecture Chairman
Amateur Astronomers Association of Princeton

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Dr. Lunine treated us to a feast of data, including unpublished stuff from T25. I have been so busy with astronomy outreach that I havent had time to post anything. just at this moment, I see that my friend Airbag has written a short summary in this thread here (and breifly below):

and here is a just a SMALL portion of the radar swath presented by Dr. Lunine.

The team has discovered a lake over 100,000 km2 and 300 km wide, tens of meters deep and larger than Lake Superior



... He reasoned that these lakes are really seas when their sizes (roughly the size of some of the Great Lakes) are taken in proportion to the size of the planet sorry moon :-) He had some great spectroscopic charts for relative abundances of various methane-derived hydrocarbons at both high altitudes and after landing, The latter clearly showed the marked increase in CH4 following penetration of the heated sample probe into the surface.

Some more observations - due to the optical properties of the postulated liquid hydrocarbons at SAR wavelengths it will not be possible to see specular reflections (from the radar itself). Also, the geometry is wrong for specular reflections from the Sun at IR wavelengths.

In the areas of the swaths which cross, no changes were seen. I.e. those faint markings in the postulated lake areas are not waves or some other transient phenomena, at least on the timescale of the mission so far.

Areas where SAR passed overlap at roughly 90 degrees can provide additional surface angle information that is not possible with just a one single pass data set; that data is still being worked on.

Just fascinating!

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