Astronomy Today Textbook



A Distant, Dusty Moon. Titan experiences changing seasons--just like Earth. In particular, Titan's seasons change around the equinox, when our Sun passes Titan's equator. At this time, huge clouds can form in tropical areas, resulting in violent methane storms. Cassini observed these ferocious methane storms during several of its flybys over Titan. The astronomers observed this effect in the upper layer of the lunar crust, termed the megaregolith. This layer is heavily pockmarked by relatively small craters, measuring only 30 kilometers or less in diameter. In contrast, the deeper layers of lunar crust, that are scarred by larger craters, appear not to have been as badly battered, and are, therefore, less porous and fractured. On July 20, 1969, astronaut Neil Armstrong radioed back from the surface of the Moon, "... the Eagle has landed". Most of us believe that the landing occurred as broadcast. Not all, however. More than 30 years after the fact, Fox TV aired "Conspiracy Theory: Did We Really Go to the Moon?". In doing so, the Fox entertainers unleashed a lively cabal of kooks and NASA-bashers on a scientifically naive audience without benefit of editorial balance. Polls suggest that perhaps 6% of Americans believe in the authenticity of these claims.