back to top

A "Magic Island" Has Appeared On A Moon Of Saturn And Scientists Don't Know What It Is

"¯\_(ツ)_/¯" – NASA on this thing.

Posted on

Saturn has a moon called Titan, and Titan has a sea that something weird appears to be happening in.

NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute / Via photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov

Titan is the biggest of Saturn's moons. The sea, like the rest of the weather system on Titan, is made up of hydrocarbons – mostly ethane, methane, and propane – instead of water. But that's not the weird thing.

Astronomers have spotted a bright, mysterious object in the sea that was not there before.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASI/Cornell / Via photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov

You could *almost* say it looks like an island rising up from the sea. Perhaps that's why some scientists started calling it a "magic island".

Scientists were perplexed to find the feature had vanished when they looked again, over several months, with low-resolution radar and Cassini's infrared imager. This led some team members to suggest it might have been a transient feature. But during Cassini's flyby on August 21, 2014, the feature was again visible, and its appearance had changed during the 11 months since it was last seen.

They think it could be one of either "surface waves, rising bubbles, floating solids, solids suspended just below the surface".

Or, it could be something even weirder. But probably not an island, even though it kind of looks that way.

They're going to keep looking and try to work it out.

giphy.com

In the meantime, stay vigilant if you're planning any trips to Titan's north polar region, where the Ligeia Mare sea and its mystery feature are located.

Promoted

Every. Tasty. Video. EVER. The new Tasty app is here!

Dismiss