On Saturn's largest moon, Titan, methane storm clouds shifted up from the south toward the moon's equator from 2004 to 2010. Their corresponding shift northward as the solstice approached was surprisingly slow; according to the statement, cloud models had expected the activity to happen years earlier.
But some action was sudden: In 2013, haze and trace hydrocarbons formerly found only in the north suddenly built up in the Titan's south, indicating that its atmospheric circulation had changed direction due to the changing sun exposure, the statement said.
"Observations of how the locations of cloud activity change and how long such changes take give us important information about the workings of Titan's atmosphere and also its surface, as rainfall and wind patterns change with the seasons too," Elizabeth Turtle, a researcher on Cassini's imaging team at Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory in Maryland, said in the statement.
And on Saturn's moon Enceladus, which hosts a subsurface ocean and blasts geysers of material out through its plumes, the main seasonal change was its southern hemisphere's transition to winter darkness. This change let Cassini monitor the moon's temperature more easily, to investigate the intriguing moon.
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Cassini is in the middle of the "Grand Finale" phase of its mission, in which it is diving between Saturn and its rings repeatedly to investigate the planet more closely than ever before. Once it finishes seeing the planet through the change of seasons and charting its moons, rings and surface as deeply as possible, Cassini will plunge into Saturn's atmosphere on Sept. 15. The mission is a collaboration among NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency.
Original article on Space.com.
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