Titan's Lakes: Seasonal and Milankovitch Climate Cycles

Speaker:Professor Oded Aharonson
Affiliation:The Helen Kimmel Center for Planetary Science, Weizmann
Location:Lidow Rosen Auditorium (323)

NASA's Cassini mission to Titan has unveiled a world that experiences surface temperatures 200 degrees colder than Earth’s, receives 100 times less sunlight, where hydrocarbon molecules rain from the sky and water ice is as hard as rock.  But for all of its strange properties, Titan exhibits landforms remarkably familiar to our own: extensive dunes in dry regions, braided channel networks draining from mountains to large basins, and perhaps most astonishingly, large seas and lakes filled with liquid natural gas.

This presentation will review the discoveries of the recent flybys of Titan with focus on what has been learned about its lakes, their seasonal evolution, and the hypothesis that they undergo cyclic changes over tens of thousands of years, analogous to (Croll) Milankovitch climate cycles on Earth.