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In considering radar images of Titan’s surface, such as the one above, electrical theorist Wallace Thornhill
and his colleagues see another test of the “Electric Universe.”

Aug 04
, 2006
Predictions Concerning Titan’s Methane

Winding channels and dark patches on Saturn's moon Titan have inspired NASA scientists to claim that torrential rains of methane sculpt an "earth-like" landscape, with methane rivers and methane lakes.

In two earlier TPODs we have discussed recent radar images of Titan, the cloud-enshrouded moon of Saturn, now a principal target of the Cassini mission. (See August 2, 2006 TPOD and July 31, 2006 TPOD.)

Wallace Thornhill has suggested that both the planet Venus and Saturn’s moon Titan are newcomers to our solar system, and that both appear to have been born electrically from the planet Saturn, perhaps within a period that can be counted in mere thousands of years (not the billions of years given in the standard picture of solar system evolution).
Though the field of evidence is far greater than could be adequately summarized here, a substantial portion of that evidence relates to the planet Venus, a body with a long but now-invisible, highly filamentary plasma or comet tail reaching almost to Earth’s orbit. Converging historical and scientific evidence gives a compelling portrait of Venus as a comet in ancient times, displaying an awe-inspiring plasma tail extolled by ancient star-worshippers around the world.  (See Chapter Three of
Thunderbolts of the Gods.)

If Venus is a newcomer, then various features on the planet, including its dense atmosphere, the continuing contribution of its atmosphere to its remnant plasma tail, and its surface rille networks, could be pointers to a more reliable interpretation of what we now see on Titan.

It is known that Titan’s existing atmospheric methane is rapidly destroyed by sunlight, and one of the major goals of the Cassini mission has been to account for the large volumes of methane escaping from Titan’s atmosphere into space. At the observed rate of methane loss, planetary scientists say, the methane would be quickly depleted. So some extensive reservoir must be replenishing it. Prior to Cassini NASA scientists envisioned oceans of methane, covering perhaps three-quarters of Titan’s surface.

But with Cassini’s arrival the picture changed. The oceans were not found. From this NASA scientists concluded that the methane source lay in vast underground reserves feeding fresh supplies into the atmosphere. These “methanofers” were not found either.

Now, however, thanks to a series of Cassini radar images, complemented by the Huygens probe that descended to the surface, NASA scientists suggest a partial, shall we say minimalist answer to the mystery: a “cycle” of torrential rains of methane; visible channels on the surface cut by the resulting methane “rivers;” and “lakes” of methane fed by the rivers, now appearing as smooth dark areas on the radar images. The most recent announcement named dark patches in the north polar region as the badly needed “lakes” of methane.

The claimed cycle would not replenish available methane, or even come close to meeting the original theoretical requirements. But the radar images encouraged NASA scientists to issue something close to a victory statement.

"This is a big deal," said Steve Wall, deputy radar team leader at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "We've now seen a place other than Earth where lakes are present."

"What we see is darker than anything we've ever seen elsewhere on Titan. It was almost as though someone laid a bull's-eye around the whole north pole of Titan, and Cassini sees these regions of lakes just like those we see on Earth," said Larry Soderblom, Cassini interdisciplinary scientist at the U.S. Geological Survey, Flagstaff, Ariz.
Such statements make the direction of NASA’s thinking clear. It is therefore an ideal juncture for us to register contrary predictions based on a much different vantage point.

A “replenished” atmosphere?

The methane found in Titan's atmosphere is quickly destroyed by sunlight, so it has to be replenished. That has led to the suggestion that Titan must have a hydrocarbon ocean for the methane to have lasted for the conventional age of the solar system. However, radar, infrared and radio observations of Titan have not found signs of a hydrocarbon ocean. In fact one radar return was “of a type that we would expect to get back from Venus.” (Remember Thornhill’s claim that ” Titan is most likely a baby brother of Venus.")

We suggest there is no replenishment of Titan’s methane. It is simply losing methane from its young atmosphere at a declining rate that can probably be measured over mere decades or centuries.

Thornhill writes: “That Titan may be young is hinted at by its eccentric orbit, which cannot have persisted for billions of years. So we should be alert to similarities between Titan and Venus. It is already known that Titan has the densest atmosphere of any terrestrial planet, after Venus.” But unlike Venus, Titan is too small to hold a thick atmosphere, and that’s the heart of the mystery. Two of Jupiter's moons, Ganymede and Callisto have no atmosphere yet they are of similar size.

It is the youth of Titan that accounts for the difference (Titan’s dense atmosphere), not hidden reservoirs of methane. On a geological timeline Titan's atmosphere is extraordinary recent and could not be retained for millions of years, much less the multiple-billion-year history the NASA folks require. Both Venus' and Titan's atmospheres, being very young, will not yet be in equilibrium. So calculations about atmospheric constituents that assume equilibrium as a starting point will be wrong.

A colder north pole on Titan?

NASA scientists suggest that the envisioned methane lakes at the north polar region of Titan are there because of the pole’s colder temperatures. But is the pole really colder, or is this just another assumption based on an electrically sterile model? With Titan’s “big sister” as a reference, Thornhill writes, “it would not be surprising if Titan had warm spots over the poles, like Venus.” Of course, if this turns out to be true, NASA’s reasoning about polar methane lakes is significantly weakened.

Torrential methane rains?

We predict that NASA will never find the elusive methane rains on Titan, because the weather cycle that planetary scientists conjured is not occurring. (Thornhill offers another testable claim about “rain” and “storms” in his treatment of “Electric Weather”) 

Thornhill emphasizes that the water molecule, unlike the methane molecule, is electrically polarized.

“The oxygen (blue) side of the water molecule is more negative than the hydrogen side (red), forming an electric dipole. In an electric field, the water molecule will rotate to line up with the field. When it condenses in a cloud the average electric dipole moment of a water molecule in a raindrop is 40 percent greater than that of a single water vapor molecule. This enhancement results from the large polarization caused by the electric field induced by surrounding water molecules.”

Thornhill relates the polarization of water molecules to the seemingly inexplicable “anti-gravity” effect of water droplets in clouds, where “millions of tons of water can be suspended kilometers above the ground, when cloud droplets are about 1,000 times denser than the surrounding air."

Based on this perspective, he now writes to us, “It's my view that methane could not form large drops. It will always form a haze in Titan's atmosphere.” There could be no torrential rains, and none will be found. “…Methane will not rain out of the sky and form rivers. It will condense out like fog on a windscreen. Also you will not get charge separation and storms in methane clouds like you do in water clouds on Earth. However, you might get superbolts of lightning from the ionosphere to the surface, like you do on Venus.” And they could be responsible for lofting water and other molecules, from the surface and lower atmosphere, high into the stratosphere where they would form the few bright clouds, seen now from Earth.”

Methane Rivers

We claim that there are no rains. The sinuous channels were not cut by fluid under the influence of gravity. Therefore NASA will never find a methane river, and the rilles must have another explanation. They were cut electrically in a highly active phase of Titan’s history. The rilles are dark in the radar images, not because they are a flat liquid surface, but because they have flat melted floors formed by a moving arc.

We are confident enough in this reasoning that we will offer an additional prediction. NASA need only subject its interpretation to a critical test. Do the channels follow the geologic relief in the way required by flowing liquid? With tools already available to them, NASA investigators should be able to confirm that the channels run both uphill and downhill as do rilles on other rocky bodies in the solar system.


As previously noted, the dark areas in the radar images show the usual circular scalloped edges, typical of cathode arc machining of a surface. These can be compared directly to the scalloped scarring on Jupiter’s moon Io, which also produced flat, melted floor depressions. Thornhill writes: “Such floors would be expected to give a dark radar return. The fact that the ‘lakes’ have only been discovered in the polar region and are associated with electrical ‘rilles’ and fulguritic ‘dunes’ also suggests an electrical origin through powerful auroral currents in the past.” Some of the “Lakes” reveal rilles on their floors, which suggests that they are, in fact, dry.

Predictions and Theoretical Context

The last word comes from Thornhill in 'Titan - A Rosetta Stone for early Earth?'  "Titan is a Rosetta Stone for planetary history – once the context is understood. The hieroglyphs on the original could be deciphered when it was realized they repeated what was written there in Greek. Titan's surface – and the other bodies in the solar system – can be deciphered when it's realized they have been 'written' by plasma discharges. Titan is not a body inscribed by gravity attesting to an ancient nebula but a body etched by electricity proclaiming a recent birth."


Most of the predictions offered here need not wait years for confirmation. Another flyby of Titan will occur on September 7. Then, in October, Cassini will be taking an even closer look at the moon’s north pole, “searching for more lakes and mapping more of the polar region covered by these features.” In this search, we can only urge NASA scientists to also look for things that might raise their entire theoretical framework to doubt—such as narrow channels on the flat floors of the “lakes!”

Our prediction in a nutshell: on close inspection the imagined methane rivers and lakes of Titan will evaporate before the eyes of NASA scientists.

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The Electric Sky and The Electric Universe available now!


Authors David Talbott and Wallace Thornhill introduce the reader to an age of planetary instability and earthshaking electrical events in ancient times. If their hypothesis is correct, it could not fail to alter many paths of scientific investigation.

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Professor of engineering Donald Scott systematically unravels the myths of the "Big Bang" cosmology, and he does so without resorting to black holes, dark matter, dark energy, neutron stars, magnetic "reconnection", or any other fictions needed to prop up a failed theory.

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In language designed for scientists and non-scientists alike, authors Wallace Thornhill and David Talbott show that even the greatest surprises of the space age are predictable patterns in an electric universe.

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David Talbott, Wallace Thornhill
Steve Smith, Mel Acheson
  CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: Dwardu Cardona, Ev Cochrane,
C.J. Ransom, Don Scott, Rens van der Sluijs, Ian Tresman
  WEBMASTER: Brian Talbott

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