Astronomers spied a mysterious anomaly while analyzing data from NASA’s Cassini probe photographing Saturn and its moons. Comparing older photos to the most current ones to see whether there were any changes, Jason Hofgartner, a planetary scientist at Cornell University, and his colleagues spotted what they dubbed a “magic island,” in one of Titan’s seas. The island was approximately 20 kilometers (12 mi) by 10 kilometers (6 mi).
While it’s possible that the “island” is nothing more than waves caused by winds that have strengthened enough to produce such effects or bubbles from gases rising from the seafloor, it’s also possible that the apparent mass actually is an island of sorts: It could be “solids becoming buoyant with the onset of warmer temperatures and floating on the surface, or solids that are neither sunken nor floating, but rather suspended in the sea like silt in a delta on Earth,” according to Hofgartner. To determine for sure what’s going on, NASA plans to “put a boat or raft on Titan’s seas” to better study the moon and its seas.
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