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Planetary Climates$
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Andrew P. Ingersoll

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691145044

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691145044.001.0001

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Titan, Moons, and Small Planets

Titan, Moons, and Small Planets

(p.111) 6 Titan, Moons, and Small Planets
Planetary Climates

Andrew P. Ingersoll

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the hydrologic cycle on Saturn's moon Titan, which has an atmosphere of nitrogen and methane. Titan is an evolving atmosphere, close to the lower size limit of objects that can retain a sizeable atmosphere over geologic time. Below this limit, the atmospheres are tenuous and transient. The chapter first provides an overview of Titan's atmospheric evolution before discussing its hydrologic cycle and lakes. It then considers Titan's energetic weather in a low-energy environment, focusing on temperature and winds, and the difficulty of retaining an atmosphere on Titan due to its small gravity and proximity to the Sun. It also explains the anti-greenhouse effect and production of higher hydrocarbons on Titan.

Keywords:   hydrologic cycle, Saturn, Titan, atmosphere, methane, lakes, weather, temperature, anti-greenhouse effect, higher hydrocarbons

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