Cambridge, United Kingdom
30.000 x 30.000 x 2.000 cm.
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Titan -saturn Vi Midnight By A Methane Lake
Painting - Oil On Canvas
Titan - Saturn VI: Midnight by a Methane Lake. Oil on canvas, 30x30cm 11.8"x11.8", 2012. Sold during the solo exhibition Myth of Faraway Winds (2012)
Titan (also known as Saturn VI) is the largest moon of Saturn, the second lagerst moon of the solar system after Ganymede, and has captured the attention of scientists writers, and even script writers (see, e.g. Gattaca) because it is the only known satellite provided with an atmosphere.
The atmosphere is so dense, though, and opaque, that it causes the so called anti-greenhouse effect: this effect is only seen on Titan so far and it basically menas that the atmosphere cools the surface of the satellite (contrary to what happens on earth! That's called Greenhouse effect and is more comon).
What's beside that dense haze surrounding it could only be confirmed by the Cassini-Huygens mission in 2004. We also know that Titan has a permanent hurricane at the south pole and that the thick haze that hides the planet is made of nitrogen and methane.
Cassini-Huygens discovered a lot of this satellite, in fact: for instance, we know that Titan has ongoing volcanism, although the volcanism in question is not comparable to the one found on earth: Titan has what scientists call "cryovolcanoes" - or volcanoes that emit water, ammonia, and methane.
And Titan actually has lakes and seas! These lakes or seas, discovered on Titan's polars region, are constituted of liquind hydrocarbon (methane or ethane).
The temperature of this icy satellite is about -180�C which makes impossible the presence of vapour water in the atmosphere. Clouds on Titan are infact methane clouds.
An hypothesis, not really accredited by the scientific community, is that the methane lakes in Titan might host life: these beings should inhale hydrogen instead of oxygen as we do. In 2010 the scientist Darrel Strobel proved that the surface of Titan's upper atmosphere has a higher concentration of H2, which almost disappears on the surface of the satellite. This would be consistent with Chris McKay's hypotheses about atmospheric changes in case of metanogenic life on Titan (living organisms consuming hydrocarbon and inhaling hydrongen).
May 27th, 2012
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