Saturn’s moon Titan is an odd place. More prominent than Mercury, Titan is clothed in a dense atmosphere (the only moon in the Solar System to possess one) and covered in seas and rivers of liquid hydrocarbons such as ethane and methane.
Underneath those elements, there is a thick layer of water ice, and below that might be a liquid water ocean that could hold life.
Now, many years of calculations and evaluations have unveiled that Titan’s orbit around Saturn is growing. The moon is going farther and farther away from the planet, approximately 100 times faster than anticipated. Here are the latest details.
Titan’s Features and Behavior Re-examined
The recent research indicated that Titan has formed much closer to Saturn and moved out to its current distance of 1.2 million kilometers over 4.5 billion years.
Researchers utilized different methods to measure Titan’s orbit for 10 years. One procedure, named astrometry, generated accurate measurements of Titan’s position relative to background stars in shots captured by the Cassini spacecraft. The other method, radiometry, calculated Cassini’s speed as the gravitational pull of Titan influenced it.
The obtained results are in full agreement, especially with a theory suggested in 2016 by Fuller, who forecasted that Titan’s migration speed would be much faster than standard tidal approaches evaluated. His theory claims that Titan is expected to gravitationally compress Saturn with a precise frequency that actively makes the planet oscillate. Such a process of tidal forcing is dubbed resonance locking.
Fuller indicated that the high amplitude of Saturn’s oscillation would spread a lot of energy, which would make Titan move outside the planet at a quicker rate than initially believed. The recent investigations discovered that Titan is moving away from Saturn at a pace of 11 centimeters/year. But, it’s more than 100 times faster than previous theories indicated. Further research is still needed.