Titan's lower atmosphere

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Saturn's largest moon, Titan, sports an atmosphere 10 times thicker than Earth's. Like Earth, the moon's atmosphere is N2 based and possesses a rich organic chemistry. In addition, similar to the terrestrial hydrological cycle, Titan has a methane cycle, with methane clouds, rain and seas. Presently, there is a revolution in our understanding of the moon, as data flows in and is analyzed from the NASA and ESA Cassini-Huygens mission. For example, seas were detected only this year. Here I will discuss the evolution of our understanding of Titan's atmosphere, its composition, chemistry, dynamics and origin. Current open questions will also be presented. Studies of Titan's atmosphere began and evolved to the present state in less time than that of a single scientist's career. This short interlude of activity demonstrates the rigors of the scientific method, and raises enticing questions about the workings and evolution of an atmosphere.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAIP Conference Proceedings
Number of pages34
Publication statusPublished - 2007
EventGRADUATE SCHOOL IN ASTRONOMY: XI Special Courses at the National Observatory of Rio de Janeiro (XI CCE) - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Duration: Oct 16 2006Oct 20 2006


OtherGRADUATE SCHOOL IN ASTRONOMY: XI Special Courses at the National Observatory of Rio de Janeiro (XI CCE)
CityRio de Janeiro



  • Atmosphere
  • Atmospheric Dynamics
  • Atmospheric Structure
  • Chemistry
  • Circidation
  • Origin and Evolution
  • Surface
  • Titan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

Cite this

Griffith, C. (2007). Titan's lower atmosphere. In AIP Conference Proceedings (Vol. 930, pp. 3-36) https://doi.org/10.1063/1.2790334