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Images from the 1930s captured the immensity of the American Dust Bowl, and modern snapshots reveal massive "haboob" dust storms intensely rolling over the Sahara Desert. Now, astronomers have taken pictures of something stunningly similar on an altogether alien location: They observed dust storms on Saturn's moon Titan.
The discovery of dust storms blowing across Titan's equatorial region makes the moon the third body in the solar system, after Earth and Mars, known to have the tempests.
Data - Cassini - Mission - Researchers - Titan
Data from the Cassini mission helped researchers discover Titan's dust storms, according to NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA). Cassini's mission to Saturn and the planet's many moons lasted from 2004 until 2017, when the probe plunged into the ringed planet's clouds to disintegrate. The death dive helped avoid contaminating the Saturn system with Earth microbes. [Amazing Pictures of Titan, Saturn's Largest Moon]
Bright spots appear in this animation, based on images the Cassini probe captured with its Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) during several Titan flybys in 2009 and 2010. A research team has interpreted these features as evidence of dust storms.
Titan - Moon - Sebastien - Rodriguez - Statement
"Titan is a very active moon," said Sebastien Rodriguez in a statement from NASA and ESA. Rodriguez is an astronomer at the University Paris Diderot in France and the lead author of the paper, published Monday (Sept. 24), detailing the team's findings.
"We already know... about its geology and exotic hydrocarbon cycle," he said. "Now, we can add another analogy with Earth and Mars: the active...
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