• Cindy C. Cunningham
Reference work entry
Part of the Encyclopedia of Earth Science book series (EESS)

Titan is the largest satellite in our solar system and in many ways it is more like a planet than some planets are ( Plate 29). Its atmosphere was first detected by Kuiper (1944, 1952), but most of what we know about it has been learned since 1971. Titan's low mean density requires an interior model much richer in ices than is the case for the terrestrial planets, despite the other similarities between these bodies and Titan (Lewis, 1971) Titan's size and average density are bracketed by those for Jupiter's Galilean satellites, Ganymede and Callisto. The Galilean satellites are believed to consist of rock (silicates and iron compounds) and water ice (25–50% by mass). Candidate ice compounds for Titan's interior are different from Ganymede and Callisto, however, with NH3·H2O and CH4·H2O being the most likely alternatives to water ice. Titan's interior is probably made up of equal parts of rocky and icy material (∼ 52 : 48 by mass).

Titan is the only planetary moon with a significant...


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  • Cindy C. Cunningham

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