Scientists believe that the bubbly lakes on Titan, Saturn’s moon may contain nitrogen. The lakes made of liquid ethane and methane are intriguing bodies for astronomers. Nevertheless, scientists are triggered by some magic islands which have been discovered in some seas and lakes. These mysterious islands seem to be present in some of the captures sent by the Cassini probe, but in others, they vanish.
- Saturn’s moon, Titan contains lakes made out of methane and ethane.
- The Cassini probe spotted some mysterious islands at the surface of these lakes and oceans.
- The islands represent massive amounts of bubbles triggered by the nitrogen which mixed with ethane and methane.
Astronomers are still wondering what these islands are, how can they disappear like that and what exactly triggered their formation. They hypothesized that there could exist massive areas of bubbles which cover the lakes and which could have erupted at the surface of the water for a while and then they vanished. If these bubbles cover large areas, they could be mistaken for islands.
Nevertheless, researchers argue that they did not yet test the mechanism through which these bubbles could appear. Scientists at the Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) in Pasadena, California have revealed that these bubbly lakes might contain large amounts of nitrogen. The environment’s conditions of Titan’s surface lakes might have triggered the formation of nitrogen bubbles which, from afar, they look just like islands.
Researchers at NASA have published a new study in the Icarus magazine, using information provided by the Cassini spaceship to replicate the environment’s conditions of these bubbly lakes and oceans to test nitrogen’s solubility. They wanted to determine how nitrogen could mix with methane and ethane and which were the percentages of these substances in the lakes.
Scientists unveiled that there are some factors which may have influenced nitrogen to separate from other substances, forming bubbles. The list of factors contains the composition of Titan’s lakes, pressure and temperature variations. To better understand the phenomenon, researchers compared this with opening a soda bottle which causes a sudden release of carbon dioxide, determining the formation of fizzy bubbles.
These nitrogen bubbles are influenced by incidental weather patterns of, more likely, changing temperatures which depend on every season. Michael Malaska, the lead author of the study, claimed that their experiments were bound to demonstrate methane-rich liquids combine with ethane-rich liquids trigger a release of nitrogen which is expelled from the solution through bubbles.
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