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NASA Space Science

NASA Picks Up Rainstorms On Titan 110

RedEaredSlider writes "Rainy seasons aren't just a regular occurrence on Earth — they also happen on Titan, the largest moon of Saturn. The rain isn't water, it's methane. And the seasons are years long, as Titan takes two weeks to go around Saturn and Saturn takes 29 years to complete one circuit of the Sun. Recent images from the Cassini probe, which is currently orbiting Saturn, show clouds forming in Titan's atmosphere and evidence that liquid methane is soaking the surface."
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NASA Picks Up Rainstorms On Titan

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  • Years long... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kokuyo ( 549451 ) on Monday March 21, 2011 @02:52AM (#35556688) Journal

    Can someone explain to me how long these years are? I find the TFA confusing.

    Our years are calculated by the circuit of our own planet around the sun. So does this rainy weather last for literal earth years or are they talking about relative years? And then: Saturn yars or Titan years? And what would a Titan year be since it doesn't revolve around the sun directly.

    Yeah, I don't have a clue about astronomy ;).

  • Re:Years long... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tsadi ( 576706 ) on Monday March 21, 2011 @03:13AM (#35556762)

    Just a random thought; a day in Titan lasts almost 16 Earth days. If humans evolved in Titan instead, would that mean that we'd spend the equivalent of 16 Earth days awake also, and maybe almost the same amount sleeping?

  • Re:Years long... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Progman3K ( 515744 ) on Monday March 21, 2011 @09:42AM (#35558398)

    There was a study where they put a subject in an underground mine (they built him and underground house in there, or lair if you prefer) and only let him have contact through a video link to an operator's booth above.
    The operators would be relieved and assigned shifts in a random way so that the subject could not infer how long each operator was present nor how long their shifts were.
    After a few weeks/months of this, the subject began having 33-hour days and 11-hour nights.
    So the sun really DOES influence human wake/sleep periods. What the 33/11 ratio means is anyone's guess though...

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