Glossary term: Titan

Description: Titan is the largest moon of Saturn. It is larger than Earth's Moon and Mercury, and is second largest amongst the moons in the Solar System. It is the only body other than Earth known to have liquid oceans, seas, and rivers on the surface. These are however made up of chemicals called hydrocarbons. Titan is believed to have a rocky core and an ice-crust made of water. It is thought that the liquid water beneath the ice-crust could possibly harbor life. It has a thick atmosphere, made up mostly of nitrogen, that makes it look very smooth in pictures.

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Term and definition status: This term and its definition is still awaiting approval

The OAE Multilingual Glossary is a project of the IAU Office of Astronomy for Education (OAE) in collaboration with the IAU Office of Astronomy Outreach (OAO). The terms and definitions were chosen, written and reviewed by a collective effort from the OAE, the OAE Centers and Nodes, the OAE National Astronomy Education Coordinators (NAECs) and other volunteers. You can find a full list of credits here. All glossary terms and their definitions are released under a Creative Commons CC BY-4.0 license and should be credited to "IAU OAE".

Related Media

Saturn's moon Titan, its atmosphere of dense clouds leads to an almost uniform orange-yellowish appearance

Titan in natural colours

Caption: This image taken by NASA's Cassini spacecraft in January 2012 shows Saturn's moon Titan in near natural colours. The orange-yellowsh colour stems from a layer of partially charged hyodrocarbon compounds. In the visible light, Titan's surface remains largely hidden below the opaque atmosphere.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute credit link
License: PD Public Domain icons
Titan is round and this false colour image shows its surface as green with a large H-shaped dark patch

Titan with surface features

Caption: This composite image taken by NASA's Cassini spacecraft in November 2015 visualises infrared radiation from Saturn's moon Titan. Infrared light can penetrate its hazy atmosphere and reveal some of its surface features. During its decent to the surface, the piggy-backed ESA lander Huygens discovered lakes made of liquid hydrocarbons.
Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona/University of Idaho credit link
License: PD Public Domain icons