Friday, June 23, 2006
Haze and IceTwo of the more interesting moons in the solar system are contrasted in this image.
Ironically, what these two moons hold in common gives rise to their stark contrasting colors. Both bodies are, to varying degrees, geologically active. For Enceladus, its southern polar vents emit a spray of icy particles that coats the small moon, giving it a clean, white veneer. On Titan, yet undefined processes are supplying the atmosphere with methane and other chemicals that are broken down by sunlight. These chemicals are creating the thick yellow-orange haze that is spread through the atmosphere and, over geologic time, falls and coats the surface.