NASA shows off incredibly clear images of Saturn's moon Titan

NASA has published six different images taken of Saturn's very interesting moon Titan. The images represent some of the most seamless-looking global views of the surface of the icy moon ever produced. The super clear images were created using 13-years of data captured by the Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) on the Cassini spacecraft.

The images are "smoothly combined" from a "multitude" of different observations made under a range of lighting conditions during the Cassini mission. NASA has shown off VIMS maps of Titan before, but those images had great variation in image resolution and lighting that resulted in obvious seams between different surface areas of Titan.

The new images are sans seams giving the best representation of how Titan might appear to the causal observer if it was stripped of the hazy atmosphere. The reason NASA images the surface of Titan with infrared rather than visible spectrum is that hazy atmosphere.

The haze comes from small particles in the atmosphere called aerosols. The aerosols are in the upper atmosphere and can strongly scatter light. Infrared wavelengths are used because the scattering and absorption of light viewed through what NASA calls "infrared windows" is much weaker.

The second image here with the clear shots of Titan around the yellow hazy center show the VIMS infrared images compared to the hazy center image of Titan taken in visible light. The images show off the complex surface with varied geological features and compositional units.