legacy page  
     homeaboutessential guidepicture of the daythunderblogsnewsmultimediapredictionsproductsget involvedcontact

picture of the day

chronological archive               subject archive


Giant crater in Titan’s northwestern highlands. Image credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

Titan Tells More Strange Tales
Dec 19, 2008

Images from Cassini are said to reveal deltas, river channels and now ocean basins filled with super-cooled hydrocarbons. Does electricity play a role on Titan?

Recent data from the Cassini-Huygens mission has been interpreted to reveal oceans of ethane – in one case occupying an area as large as 26,000 square kilometers. It is in Titan’s north polar region that the largest bodies of “liquid” are supposed to exist.

Cassini-Huygens has been analyzing information from the planet Saturn and its family of moons for almost four years. One of its primary targets has been Titan, the largest moon in the solar system and the only one with an atmosphere. We have written many times in the past about Titan and its bizarre topography, as well as the electrical connection that it shares with its giant parent’s plasmasphere.

Now, based on an analysis of data from 19 separate flybys of Titan, the case for liquids flowing on the surface is being given greater credence. In fact, the volume of hydrocarbon precipitates is now being predicted to be far greater than what was previously reported.

In an image centered at 70 degrees north latitude there are features suggesting a “...coastline and numerous island groups of a portion of a large sea.”

By comparing surface feature coordinates taken between 2005 and 2007, scientists found that several of them have moved from their previous positions by as much as 30 kilometers. Because Cassini’s synthetic aperture radar is able to see through the normally opaque cloud cover that obscures Titan from optical instruments, geographical landmarks were mapped and then compared to archived telemetry from earlier flybys.

The unexpected dislocation is being attributed to the “disconnection” of Titan’s crust from its core by an intervening layer of liquid that enables the 50 different markers to “slide” around more easily than if they were connected by solid buttresses. The grid-plotted formations included “river valleys”, mountains, canyons and other terrain that would normally be slow to change in just two years of observation.

NASA researcher Bryan Stiles, from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, wrote:

"We believe that about 100 kilometers (62 miles) beneath the ice and organic-rich surface is an internal ocean of liquid water mixed with ammonia."

But is the interpretation of radar telemetry accurate in this case? Could the movement of river valleys and canyons be something else entirely?

In a previous Picture of the Day it was noted that flowing methane (or ethane) has never been found on Titan and that the entire line of reasoning follows from an assumption without foundation. The so-called “river valleys” on Titan do not look as if they were carved-out by flowing liquids. We predicted then that a close examination of the images would demonstrate that the channels go uphill and downhill – not like the action of a moving stream that would always be downhill. In reality what we see on Titan are examples of “sinuous rilles” and are the result of electric discharges.

Titan is an electrically charged body that is constantly bombarded by an intense ionic storm from Saturn. It shares many characteristics with its cousin moons, Io and Europa, that orbit the planet Jupiter: a particle fountain from its poles, a toroid of charged particles in a sheath and exchanges of massive electric charge.

In the Picture of the Day about the volcanoes on Io, the fact that the calderas of several “hot spots” moved by several kilometers in a few short months was attributed to the plasma beams that complete an electric circuit with the moon and Jupiter. It is the points where plasma discharges from Jupiter touchdown on Io that are glowing with such intensity. Similar electrical phenomena could be influencing Titan’s geology.

Polar banding suggests that streams of charged particles are circling the planet-sized moon very much like electrons and positive ions circle the Earth in opposite directions. In other words, there is a plasma ring surrounding Titan that is influencing its geology and its weather.

Electric Universe theorist Wal Thornhill wrote:

“The idea that Titan may have a considerable amount of low density liquids or ices came originally from calculations of its density. However, estimates of the composition of celestial bodies assume that we understand the real nature of gravity. We obviously don't. So there is no reason to assume that the gravitational constant, 'G,' is the same for all bodies in the universe,
particularly when it is the most elusive 'constant' to measure on Earth. So we cannot be confident about the calculated ratio of rock to ices on Titan. But the presence of methane in Titan's atmosphere seemed to require an ocean of liquid hydrocarbons as a reservoir that could provide a source of that gas lasting for the conventional age of the solar system. The radar image (above) of Titan fits more closely with some of those returned by the Magellan Orbiter from dry and rocky Venus. The methane puzzle has not been solved.”

By Stephen Smith



SPECIAL NOTE - **New Volumes Available:
We are pleased to announce a new e-book series THE UNIVERSE ELECTRIC. Available now, the first volume of this series, titled Big Bang, summarizes the failure of modern cosmology and offers a new electrical perspective on the cosmos. At over 200 pages, and designed for broadest public appeal, it combines spectacular full-color graphics with lean and readily understandable text.

**Then second and third volumes in the series are now available, respectively titled Sun and Comet, they offer the reader easy to understand explanations of how and why these bodies exist within an Electric Universe.

High school and college students--and teachers in numerous fields--will love these books. So will a large audience of general readers.

Visitors to the site have often wondered whether they could fully appreciate the Electric Universe without further formal education. The answer is given by these exquisitely designed books. Readers from virtually all backgrounds and education levels will find them easy to comprehend, from start to finish.

For the Thunderbolts Project, this series is a milestone. Please see for yourself by checking out the new Thunderbolts Project website, our leading edge in reaching new markets globally.

Please visit our Forum

  This free site search script provided by JavaScript Kit  
  FREE update -

Weekly digest of Picture of the Day, Thunderblog, Forum, Multimedia and more.
*** NEW DVD ***
  Symbols of an Alien Sky
Selections Playlist

An e-book series
for teachers, general readers and specialists alike.
(FREE viewing)
  Thunderbolts of the Gods

  Follow the stunning success of the Electric Universe in predicting the 'surprises' of the space age.  
  Our multimedia page explores many diverse topics, including a few not covered by the Thunderbolts Project.  

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.
More info
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.
More info
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.
More info

EXECUTIVE EDITORS: David Talbott, Wallace Thornhill
MANAGING EDITORS: Steve Smith, Mel Acheson
CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: Michael Armstrong, Dwardu Cardona,
Ev Cochrane, C.J. Ransom, Don Scott,
Rens van der Sluijs, Ian Tresman
WEBMASTER: Brian Talbott
© Copyright 2008:
top ]

home   •   picture of the day   •   thunderblogs   •   multimedia   •   resources   •   forum   •   updates   •   contact us   •   support us