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Lowell astronomer studies processes on Titan

Rivers, lakes, and perhaps oceans are flowing deep inside our solar system. And we’re not talking about Earth. We’re talking about Titan, Saturn’s largest moon.

Astronomer Dr. Henry Roe spends part of his time studying this fascinating world. Titan is an amazing place that is simultaneously familiar and truly bizarre when compared with what we have on Earth. Recently, the spectacular images of Titan’s surface from the Cassini craft and Huygens landing probe showed channels cut by flowing liquid methane, lakes of liquid hydrocarbons, and enormous regions of sand dunes.

An intriguing aspect is that Titan’s hydrology and meteorology are based on methane, not water. Dr. Roe regularly observes Titan’s methane weather with a variety of ground-based telescopes, including the Gemini 8-m and and NASA IRTF 3-m telescopes. He also monitors Titan’s weather with a small robotic 0.5-m telescope on Mars Hill.

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