posted that amazing NASA link
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/cassi ... 91217.html
at the shatters.net forum the other day...
One can clearly see that specular reflection
of sunlight (at IR wavelength) that has been determined to come from the first glints of sunlight reflected off a huge Titan lake ( 400 000 km^2 !!)
near the North pole, called Kraken Mare
. This spectacular event happened after the northern Titan hemisphere was shrouded in darkness for nearly 15 years! The observation of such a specular reflection confirmed the presence of liquid also in the moon's northern hemisphere!
For some of us, an obvious question is of course: What about this effect in Celestia(.Sci)?
? Well Kraken Mare is on my latest, hires Titan texture (2009) that I made for Celestia.Sci (<= Feb 26 2009, CICLOPS team http://ciclops.org/view.php?id=5492
Here is a nice image from NASA's photojournal that includes also radar data.
There is even a great video about the exploration of Kraken_Mare
While due to infra-red wavelength
filtering, the specular reflection in the original photo was able to penetrate the dense atmosphere of Titan, this is impossible in Celestia, due to its limitation to the visible light domain! One day, Celestia.Sci will hopefully offer multi-wavelength visualization...
But in Celestia we can just switch off the atmosphere by hitting a key
. So let's see what Titan looks like without its atmosphere in Celestia, at the discovery day, July 8th 2009
, from the proper distance of ~200000 km
Using GIMP, it is an easy task to generate a specular texture with the shape of Kraken Mare as depicted in my 2009 Titan texture image above.
Not bad at all, I would say.
Clearly, it would be interesting to further complete Titan's specular reflection texture in terms of the further lakes that have been discovered also in the southern hemisphere. Perhaps novel, "specular predictions" could be made this way?
I am confident that I will present further progress along these lines in the near future...
So stay tuned.