In a glaring contrast to the wonderful colours of Saturn's rings and the sunlit hydrocarbon depths of Titan, this photograph captured by the Cassini spacecraft makes them look as threatening alien worlds. To us, they appear empty of detail. But to the skilled eyes of researchers, such pictures expose vital insights.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute.
High-phase observations, usually taken when cameras are pointed in the direction of the Sun, as in this photograph, are a strong diagnostic tool for studying atmospheres, which expose their properties grounded on how they reflect sunlight. In this sample, Titan's semi-circular approximately encircles its disk due to minor fog particles high in its atmosphere smattering the arriving light of the distant Sun.