The Moon of Titan, where Propane Falls from the Sky

The planet of Titan, hiding behind Saturn's rings and a heavy smog of methane, ethane, and propane. (image: astronomy.com)

Titan is a beige-colored moon that orbits the ringed planet of Saturn. It is the only moon in the solar system with a proper atmosphere, which includes rain showers, lightning, and a constant smoggy haze. And as two NASA scientists recently discovered, there are even wispy clouds that consist of frozen hydrocarbon particles: methane, ethane, and propane. (Sidenote: We thought all the gas was on Uranus. LOL!!)

According to a recent article from Astronomy magazine, it was previously believed that Titan’s atmosphere was made up of sulfur-free crude oil. More advanced study revealed big, fluffy clouds of methane and ethane. Now the scientists, Carrie Anderson and Robert Samuelson, have added to the portrait of Titan. By studying high-tech images of the moon, the pair discovered Cirrus-like clouds high in the moon’s atmosphere.

Then there’s this curious climate cycle: Titan’s clouds release these hydrocarbons as rain, but the methane and propane never evaporate and return to the atmosphere. There seems to be a never-ending supply of propane in Titan’s sky. Does that make Titan a grill master’s dream world? Not quite. The average temperature there is −179.5 Celsius, so plan on wearing sleeves.

(Visited 33 times, 1 visits today)