But on analyzing the sunlight that gets refracted by the high-altitude haze, they found that the haze more strongly affects shorter (bluer) wavelengths. Studies of exoplanet haze have assumed that high-altitude atmospheric gases affect all wavelengths of starlight in the same way. This Titan study has therefore added critical detail to our understanding about how hazy exoplanetary atmospheres may refract light, improving our deduction of atmospheric composition.
ANALYSIS: Cassini Spies Wind-Rippled Sea on Titan
"People had dreamed up rules for how planets would behave when seen in transit, but Titan didn't get the memo," said Mark Marley, a co-author of the study, which has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, also from NASA Ames. "It looks nothing like some of the previous suggestions, and it's because of the haze."
This study proves that, once again, Cassini has not only boosted our knowledge of Saturn and its system of moons, but it is now helping us understand the dynamics of atmospheres on planets orbiting other stars.