– Saturn’s moon Titan, is one of the most interesting places in our solar system. Not only is it the only is the only extraterrestrial body known to support stable liquid on its surface, but it also has large islands that disappear and later re-appear.
The vanishing islands on Titan have long puzzled astronomers. What force is responsible for the lakes’ mysterious disappearances and re-appearances?
To unravel the mystery, a team of international researchers has developed computer models that simulate conditions on Saturn’s largest moon Titan showing that some of the islands on the planet’s surface may be made of bubble streams.
In 2013, NASA’s Cassini orbiter sent back radar images that revealed there was something puzzling in Titan’s Ligeia Mare sea. The odd ephemeral bright regions were dubbed “magic islands.”
Scientists have tried to figure out the truth about Titan’s magic islands and the evolution of transient feature in Ligeia Mare sea.
Analysis by Cassini scientists indicates that the bright features, informally known as the “magic island,” are a phenomenon that changes over time. They conclude that the brightening is due to either waves, solids at or beneath the surface or bubbles, with waves thought to be the most likely explanation. They think tides, sea level and seafloor changes are unlikely to be responsible for the brightening.
In a paper published in Nature Astronomy, a group of scientists from France and Mexico present the results of their study and explain the odd behavior of the islands is not due to changes in sea levels, but large bubbles fizzing up from the depths of the sea, which contains a mix of nitrogen, ethane and methane.
An advanced extraterrestrial civilization is not responsible for occasionally “hiding” the islands on Titan. The process is a work of nature.