NASA this week shared new images of Saturn’s moon Titan, allowing scientists to see the icy surface like never before. We can thank NASA’s Cassini spacecraft for the spectacular views, which used 13 years of data to produce the stunning pictures.
Because of the icy moon’s hazy atmosphere, getting a good view of the surface has been difficult. But the newest images are the best representation of how Titan might appear to the naked eye, according to NASA.
Observing the surface of Titan in the visible region of the spectrum is difficult, due to the globe-enshrouding haze around the moon. This is primarily because small particles called aerosols in Titan’s upper atmosphere strongly scatter visible light. But Titan’s surface can be more readily imaged in a few infrared “windows”—infrared wavelengths where scattering and absorption of light is much weaker.
As Space.com notes, the images provide viewers with a look at the moon’s dunes, icy deposits, and seas of liquid hydrocarbons. The moon has long been a point of interest among scientists, and these latest images are paving the way for new mysteries to be uncovered.
Cassini met its demise last year after years of studying Saturn and its surrounding rings, eventually plummeting to its death. Check out the beautiful images up above.