Apr 25, 2017 | Updated: 03:00 PM EDT

Mysterious 'Magic Islands' on Saturn's Titan Moon May Have Just Been Explained

Mar 18, 2017 08:19 AM EDT

Mysterious 'Magic Island' Unveiled as Saturn's Moon Warms
(Photo : GeoBeats News) Hydrocarbon lakes on Titan, the largest moon of Saturn, may erupt on occasion, ejecting nitrogen bubbles in the process.

Titan, the biggest moon of Saturn, has often triggered the interest of NASA and is the subject of a few reviews and research. Another study shouldered by NASA, now reveals insight into how the hydrocarbon lakes and seas on Titan may erupt with patches of bubbles periodically. The Cassini spacecraft has shared that Titan's composition of the lakes and seas, varies from place to place, with few being ethane-rich when compared with methane.

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 Researchers at the agency's of Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) copied the harsh and extreme cold conditions on Titan. They indicated how even minor fluctuations in air pressure, temperature, and composition of air can bring about nitrogen separating rapidly from the solution. This is much the same as the bubble which one can detect when a pop container is opened.

As per the lead creator of the review Michael Malaska, the test revealed that when both methane and ethane-rice fluids were blended, the nitrogen could stay in the solution. The arrival of nitrogen is called exsolution, Astronomy cited. Exsolution or the release of nitrogen happens mostly during the modifying seasons on Titan when the methane seas turn out to be marginally hotter.

The idea of nitrogen bubbles transmitting carbonated patches on both the lakes and seas of the Titan has been connected with another captivating idea called the "magic islands," as found by Cassini. The most recent research offers a more knowledge on what could be causing such bubbles.

"On account of this work on nitrogen's solubility, we're now sure that bubbles could in reality form in the seas, and in truth might be more abundant than we'd expected," says Jason Hofgartner the co-creator of the study.

As indicated by Malaska, the movement of nitrogen on Titan is not focused in one heading or direction, as it needs to get inside both methane and ethane, before it can come out. A related incident occurs on Earth when the seas absorb the released carbon dioxide. In a period of two decades, Cassini has provided NASA a lot of helpful information on Titan.

however, the spacecraft will leave on its final flyby of Titan on April 22. Cassini will fly over Titan's northern seas for one last time, observing the magic island features in the meantime. The most recent study had been published online in Journal Icarus in February


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