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Observed DISR Spectra at Different Altitudes

Observed DISR Spectra at Different Altitudes

Date: 15 February 2005
Satellite: Huygens
Depicts: Visible and IR Spectra
Location: Titan Atmosphere
Copyright: ESA, NASA, LPL/University of Arizona/Observatoire de Paris-Meudon

A graph showing three spectra obtained at different altitudes of 150 km, 500m and 20m during the descent of Huygens to the surface of Titan.

The regions of lowest intensity in the spectra correspond to wavelengths where light is strongly absorbed by methane. The intensity does not fall to zero (see arrows alongside the red line) in the centre of these bands due to the diffusion and scattering of light in the atmosphere.

Close to the surface, methane is a strong absorber of sunlight (as shown in the blue line).

The reflected spectrum from illumination by a 20m lamp on the spacecraft, shown by the green line, has a lower level of methane absorption and allows scientists to measure the methane abundance at the surface. It also yields the reflectivity of this surface at the landing site, along with precious information on the composition of the surface, an important goal for Huygens.

NOTE - the intensity is given in arbitrary units and the reflected spectrum (green line) has been corrected for residual sunlight and light colour from the lamp.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project between NASA, ESA and Italy's ASI space agency.

Last Update: 1 September 2019
18-Apr-2024 05:31 UT

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