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Titan Flyby - 22 July 2006

Titan Flyby - 22 July 2006

19 July 2006

Only 20 days after Titan-15, Cassini returns to Titan for its seventeenth targeted encounter, Titan-16. The closest approach to Titan occurs on Saturday, 22 July, at 00:25 UT at an altitude of 950 kilometres above the surface and at a speed of 5.8 kilometres per second. The latitude at closest approach is 85° (near polar) and the encounter occurs on orbit number 26.

This encounter is set up with two manoeuvres: an apoapsis manoeuvre on 10 July, and an approach manoeuvre, scheduled for 18 July. This inbound encounter occurs about 2 days before Saturn closest approach.

Science Activities

  • Cassini Radar (RADAR)
    One of the high priority RADAR SAR passes. High resolution over Titan's arctic (high northern latitudes) and down to its tropics at two longitudes. This will be the first view of the northern latitudes, which is currently in perpetual winter darkness. Titan's northern terrain could harbor methane lakes, which shrink in summer and expand in winter.
  • Ion and Neutral Mass Spectrometer (INMS)
    T16 is one of the lowest passes currently planned in the mission, and one of the best ride-along observations for INMS.
  • Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph (UVIS)
    UVIS will observe the star Alpha Virgo as it passes behind Titan's atmosphere. UVIS objectives are to measure vertical and horizontal profiles for N2, methane and other hydrocarbons. To determine the temperature and photochemistry of the upper atmosphere, and measure haze optical and physical properties and altitude/latitude distribution.
  • Magnetospheric and Plasma Science (MAPS)
    In general the MAPS observations at T16 are the first in a series (T16-T24) of flybys in the pre-dawn sector. This is a good opportunity to do comparison observations and correlation between the data sets.
  • Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS)
    VIMS has inbound and outbound observations that are searching for mid-latitude clouds. There are some high resolution observations at approximately 25°  latitude, 110° longitude.
  • Composite Infrared Spectrometer (CIRS)
    CIRS will focus on the northern polar limb, this time at 45° north. Inbound, there is a mid-IR composition limb integration at highest spectral resolution. Outbound, CIRS will perform a far-IFR limb composition at the same latitude, later followed by a mid-IR limb temperature map over the winter polar vortex boundary region (30°-75° north). CIRS will finish up with a slow scan across the disk for surface temperature and aerosol mapping.

Table of Events

17 July 2006

Time UTC Time wrt
Titan-16
Activity
00:06:00 -05d 00h Start of Sequence S22 which contains Titan-16

18 July 2006

Time UTC Time wrt
Titan-16
Activity
14:51:00 -03d 10h OTM #67 Prime, Titan-16 minus 3 day targeting manoeuvre

19 July 2006

Time UTC Time wrt
Titan-16
Activity
14:51:00 -02d 10h OTM #67 Backup

20 July 2006

Time UTC Time wrt
Titan-16
Activity
23:51:00 -01d 01h Start of the TOST Segment
23:51:00 -01d 01h Turn cameras to Titan

21 July 2006

Time UTC Time wrt
Titan-16
Activity
00:21:00 -01d 00h Deadtime, used to accommodate changes in flyby time
00:36:00 -23h 49m Infrared (IR) global mapping; search for and characterize clouds
15:25:00 -09h 00m Far IR limb observation; stratospheric studies
17:25:00 -07h 00m IR high resolution imaging; regional mapping of surface
19:06:00 -05h 19m Turn RADAR toward Titan
19:15:00 -05h 10m RADAR radiometry; studies of surface properties
22:42:00 -01h 43m RADAR scatterometry; surface roughness and composition studies
23:33:00 -00h 52m Transition to thrusters; study surface and sub-surface properties
23:55:00 -00h 30m RADAR Altimetry; studies involving altitude of surface features

22 July 2006

Time UTC Time wrt
Titan-16
Activity
00:16:00 -00h 09m Titan wake crossing
00:18 -00h 07m RADAR synthetic aperature radar; high resolution coverage of high northern latitudes
00:10 -00h 15m Ion & Neutral Mass Spectrometer; determine the atmospheric & ionospheric thermal structure
00:10 -00h 15m Magnetospheric & Plasma Science activities; analysis of plasma wake, ions escaping from Titan, and Titan's interaction with Saturn's magnetosphere
00:25:00 +00h 00m Titan-16 flyby closest approach time. Altitude=950 km, speed=5.8 km s-1, 105° phase at closest approach
00:55:00 +00h 30m Ultraviolet stellar occultation; high altitude atmospheric studies
01:03:00 +00h 38m Transition back to reaction wheels
01:40:00 +01h 15m Far IR limb observations; study of stratospheric compounds
02:40:00 +02h 15m Far IR stares; surface and tropopause temperature and methane abundance
07:40:00 +07h 15m IR cloud observations; cloud mapping & lightning search
13:14:00 +12h 49m Deadtime, used to accommodate changes in flyby time
13:30:00 +13h 05m Turn to Earth-Line
14:00:00 +13h 35m Begin playback of T16 data, Goldstone 70M
23:36:00 +23h 11m End playback of T16 data

Observation Results

Cassini Instrument: Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS)

Date: 13 September 2006

Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Image Notes: Outbound view of Titan, composed of images at 5 (red), 2 (green) & 1.2 (blue) μm. Clouds are seen along the latitude 40° S, just below image centre.

Date: 13 September 2006

Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Image Notes: Crescent view of Titan, composed of images at 5 (red), 2 (green) & 1.26 (blue) μm. Image taken at a distance of 15 700 km.

Cassini Instrument: Imaging Science Subsystem (ISS)

Date: 18 August 2006

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

Image Notes: This wide angle camera view shows Titan's characteristically dark mid-latitudes. Image was obtained from 148 000 km out, in polarized infrared light.

Cassini Instrument: Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR)

Date: 16 February 2007

Credit: NASA/JPL

Video Notes: Animation of SAR mosaic of data gathered during three flyby's over Titan's north polar region, with the up to 100 km wide radar-dark patches.

Date: 11 January 2007

Credit: NASA/JPL

Image Notes: Complete SAR strip over Titan's northern hemisphere from which the below close-ups were taken showing the discovery of evidence of hydrocarbon lakes

Date: 4 January 2007

Credit: NASA/JPL/USGS

Image Notes: Strong evidence of hydrocarbon lakes on Titan at high northern latitudes. False-colour strip, 140 km wide. Centred near 80° N.

Date: 24 July 2006

Credit: NASA/JPL

Image Notes: Strong evidence of hydrocarbon lakes on Titan at high northern latitudes. Top image at ~80° N, 92° W, ~420 km × 150 km. Lower image centred near 78° N, 18° W, ~ 475 km × 150 km.

Last Update: 1 September 2019
8-Mar-2021 00:15 UT

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