Summary: The sixth planet in order from the sun. It is one of the five outer planets of the solar system. Its twelve natural satellites include Phoebe and Titan.

Top Publications

  1. Cuzzi J, Burns J, Charnoz S, Clark R, Colwell J, Dones L, et al. An evolving view of Saturn's dynamic rings. Science. 2010;327:1470-5 pubmed publisher
    We review our understanding of Saturn's rings after nearly 6 years of observations by the Cassini spacecraft. Saturn's rings are composed mostly of water ice but also contain an undetermined reddish contaminant...
  2. Krimigis S, Mitchell D, Hamilton D, Krupp N, Livi S, Roelof E, et al. Dynamics of Saturn's magnetosphere from MIMI during Cassini's orbital insertion. Science. 2005;307:1270-3 pubmed
    ..Instrument (MIMI) onboard the Cassini spacecraft observed the saturnian magnetosphere from January 2004 until Saturn orbit insertion (SOI) on 1 July 2004...
  3. Thommes E, Duncan M, Levison H. The formation of Uranus and Neptune in the Jupiter-Saturn region of the Solar System. Nature. 1999;402:635-8 pubmed
    ..In the case of the gas-giant planets Jupiter and Saturn, they accreted a significant amount of gas directly from the protosolar nebula after accumulating solid cores of ..
  4. Flasar F, Achterberg R, Conrath B, Pearl J, Bjoraker G, Jennings D, et al. Temperatures, winds, and composition in the saturnian system. Science. 2005;307:1247-51 pubmed
    Stratospheric temperatures on Saturn imply a strong decay of the equatorial winds with altitude...
  5. Flasar F, Achterberg R, Conrath B, Gierasch P, Kunde V, Nixon C, et al. Titan's atmospheric temperatures, winds, and composition. Science. 2005;308:975-8 pubmed
    ..Above the south pole, temperatures in the stratosphere are 4 to 5 kelvin cooler than at the equator. The stratospheric mole fractions of methane and carbon monoxide are (1.6 +/- 0.5) x 10(-2) and (4.5 +/- 1.5) x 10(-5), respectively. ..
  6. Turtle E, Perry J, Hayes A, Lorenz R, Barnes J, McEwen A, et al. Rapid and extensive surface changes near Titan's equator: evidence of April showers. Science. 2011;331:1414-7 pubmed publisher
    ..The changes are most consistent with widespread methane rainfall reaching the surface, which suggests that the dry channels observed at Titan's low latitudes are carved by seasonal precipitation. ..
  7. Neish C, Somogyi A, Smith M. Titan's primordial soup: formation of amino acids via low-temperature hydrolysis of tholins. Astrobiology. 2010;10:337-47 pubmed publisher
    ..Future missions to Titan should therefore carry instrumentation capable of, but certainly not limited to, detecting amino acids and other prebiotic molecules on Titan's surface. ..
  8. Jupp T, Cox P. MEP and planetary climates: insights from a two-box climate model containing atmospheric dynamics. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2010;365:1355-65 pubmed publisher
    ..Finally, results from the model developed here are compared with previous numerical simulations in which the effect of varying surface drag coefficient on entropy production was calculated. ..
  9. McDonald G, Thompson W, Heinrich M, Khare B, Sagan C. Chemical investigation of Titan and Triton tholins. Icarus. 1994;108:137-45 pubmed
    ..Titan tholin is largely insoluble in the putative hydrocarbon lakes or oceans on Titan, but can yield the H2O-soluble species investigated here upon contact with transient (e.g., impact-generated) liquid water. ..

More Information


  1. Waite J, Cravens T, Ip W, Kasprzak W, Luhmann J, McNutt R, et al. Oxygen ions observed near Saturn's A ring. Science. 2005;307:1260-2 pubmed
    Ions were detected in the vicinity of Saturn's A ring by the Ion and Neutral Mass Spectrometer (INMS) instrument onboard the Cassini Orbiter during the spacecraft's passage over the rings...
  2. Owen T, Cruikshank D, de Bergh C, Geballe T. Dark matter in the outer solar system. Adv Space Res. 1995;16:41-9 pubmed
    ..Three absorptions in the spectrum of the unusually red planetesimal 5145 Pholus are well-established, but their identity remains a mystery. ..
  3. Backes H, Neubauer F, Dougherty M, Achilleos N, Andre N, Arridge C, et al. Titan's magnetic field signature during the first Cassini encounter. Science. 2005;308:992-5 pubmed
    ..No evidence of an internal magnetic field at Titan was detected. ..
  4. Kerr R. Planetary origins. A quickie birth for Jupiters and Saturns. Science. 2002;298:1698-9 pubmed
  5. Melosh H. Exchange of meteorites (and life?) between stellar systems. Astrobiology. 2003;3:207-15 pubmed
    ..our Solar System is eventually thrown out of the Solar System during encounters with the giant planets Jupiter and Saturn. In this paper I examine the probability that such interstellar meteorites might be captured into a distant solar ..
  6. Porco C, Baker E, Barbara J, Beurle K, Brahic A, Burns J, et al. Cassini Imaging Science: initial results on Saturn's atmosphere. Science. 2005;307:1243-7 pubmed
    The Cassini Imaging Science Subsystem (ISS) began observing Saturn in early February 2004...
  7. Couturier Tamburelli I, Sessouma B, Chiavassa T, Piétri N. Zwitterion formation in titan ice analogs: reaction between HC3N and NH3. J Phys Chem A. 2012;116:10721-7 pubmed publisher
    ..The structure of the zwitterion is determined planar and it is characterized by a N-C bond around 1.5 Å. ..
  8. Griffith C, Penteado P, Baines K, Drossart P, Barnes J, Bellucci G, et al. The evolution of Titan's mid-latitude clouds. Science. 2005;310:474-7 pubmed
    ..These and other characteristics suggest that temperate clouds originate from circulation-induced convergence, in addition to a forcing at the surface associated with Saturn's tides, geology, and/or surface composition.
  9. Kargel J. Enceladus: cosmic gymnast, volatile miniworld. Science. 2006;311:1389-91 pubmed
    The exploration of Saturn by the Cassini/Huygens mission has yielded a rich collection of data about the planet and its rings and moons, in particular its small satellite Enceladus and giant satellite Titan...
  10. Kerr R. Planetary science. At last, methane lakes on Saturn's icy moon Titan--but no seas. Science. 2006;313:598 pubmed
  11. Huang C, Kaiser R, Chang A. Theoretical study on the reaction of ground state cyano radical with propylene in Titan's atmosphere. J Phys Chem A. 2009;113:12675-85 pubmed publisher
    ..that the barrierless and exoergic CN(X(2)Sigma(+)) + C(2)H(3)CH(3)(X(1)A') reaction would be an efficient route for the p1, p2, and p43, and likely HCN formation in cold molecular clouds and in the atmosphere of Saturn's satellite Titan.
  12. Lorenz R. The two-box model of climate: limitations and applications to planetary habitability and maximum entropy production studies. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2010;365:1349-54 pubmed publisher
    ..A two-box MEP model agrees well with the observed day : night temperature contrast observed on the extrasolar planet HD 189733b. ..
  13. Porco C, Baker E, Barbara J, Beurle K, Brahic A, Burns J, et al. Cassini Imaging Science: initial results on Phoebe and Iapetus. Science. 2005;307:1237-42 pubmed
    ..Local albedo variations within and bordering Cassini Regio suggest mass wasting of ballistically deposited material, the origin of which remains unknown. ..
  14. Esposito L, Colwell J, Larsen K, McClintock W, Stewart A, Hallett J, et al. Ultraviolet imaging spectroscopy shows an active saturnian system. Science. 2005;307:1251-5 pubmed
    Neutral oxygen in the saturnian system shows variability, and the total number of oxygen atoms peaks at 4 x 10(34). Saturn's aurora brightens in response to solar-wind forcing, and the auroral spectrum resembles Jupiter's...
  15. Thompson W, McDonald G, Sagan C. The Titan haze revisited: magnetospheric energy sources and quantitative tholin yields. Icarus. 1994;112:376-81 pubmed
  16. Lunine J, Yung Y, Lorenz R. On the volatile inventory of Titan from isotopic abundances in nitrogen and methane. Planet Space Sci. 1999;47:1291-303 pubmed
    We analyze recently published nitrogen and hydrogen isotopic data to constrain the initial volatile abundances on Saturn's giant moon Titan...
  17. Gu X, Kim Y, Kaiser R, Mebel A, Liang M, Yung Y. Chemical dynamics of triacetylene formation and implications to the synthesis of polyynes in Titan's atmosphere. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009;106:16078-83 pubmed publisher
    ..polyynes such as diacetylene (HCCCCH) and triacetylene (HCCCCCCH) in the chemical evolution of the atmosphere of Saturn's moon Titan has been a subject of vigorous research...
  18. Owen T. Time travel and chemical evolution: a look at the outer solar system. Planet Rep. 1987;7:16-8 pubmed
  19. Sotin C, Tobie G. Planetary science. Titan's hidden ocean. Science. 2008;319:1629-30 pubmed publisher
  20. Jones B, Zhang F, Maksyutenko P, Mebel A, Kaiser R. Crossed molecular beam study on the formation of phenylacetylene and its relevance to Titan's atmosphere. J Phys Chem A. 2010;114:5256-62 pubmed publisher
    ..Further, the phenylacetylene was found to be the sole reaction product. ..
  21. Balucani N, Casavecchia P. Gas-phase reactions in extraterrestrial environments: laboratory investigations by crossed molecular beams. Orig Life Evol Biosph. 2006;36:443-50 pubmed
    ..Products other than those already considered in the modeling of planetary atmospheres and interstellar medium have been identified. ..
  22. Capone D, Popa R, Flood B, Nealson K. Geochemistry. Follow the nitrogen. Science. 2006;312:708-9 pubmed
  23. Cleaves H, Nelson K, Miller S. The prebiotic synthesis of pyrimidines in frozen solution. Naturwissenschaften. 2006;93:228-31 pubmed
    ..Cold environments may have allowed synthesis of all of the RNA bases even from low organic yielding atmospheres, such as those of the early Earth, Mars, Titan and Europa. ..
  24. Imanaka H, Smith M. Formation of nitrogenated organic aerosols in the Titan upper atmosphere. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010;107:12423-8 pubmed publisher
  25. Kerr R. Planetary science. At last, a supportive parent for Saturn's youngest ring. Science. 2005;309:1660 pubmed
  26. Teolis B, Jones G, Miles P, Tokar R, Magee B, Waite J, et al. Cassini finds an oxygen-carbon dioxide atmosphere at Saturn's icy moon Rhea. Science. 2010;330:1813-5 pubmed publisher
    The flyby measurements of the Cassini spacecraft at Saturn's moon Rhea reveal a tenuous oxygen (O(2))-carbon dioxide (CO(2)) atmosphere...
  27. Basiuk V, Navarro Gonzalez R, Benilan Y, Raulin F. PM3, AM1, MINDO3 semi-empirical IR spectra simulations for some nitriles of interest for Titan's chemistry. Spectrochim Acta A Mol Biomol Spectrosc. 2000;56:1157-65 pubmed
    ..90 can be applied to afford better correspondence between the calculated and experimental wavenumbers. At the same time, none of the methods is able to predict infrared intensities and a spectral intensity pattern. ..
  28. Baker J. Cassini at Enceladus. Tiger, tiger, burning bright. Science. 2006;311:1388 pubmed
  29. Basiuk V. Quantum chemical calculations of infrared spectra for the identification of unknown compounds by GC/FTIR/MS in exobiological simulation experiments. Adv Space Res. 2001;27:255-60 pubmed
  30. Braudrick C, Dietrich W, Leverich G, Sklar L. Experimental evidence for the conditions necessary to sustain meandering in coarse-bedded rivers. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009;106:16936-41 pubmed publisher
    ..Our results also suggest that sand supply may be an essential control in restoring self-maintaining, actively shifting gravel-bedded meanders. ..
  31. McKay C, Chau Martin S, Griffith C, Keller R. Temperature lapse rate and methane in Titan's troposphere. Icarus. 1997;129:498-505 pubmed
    ..The lapse rate is everywhere stable against dry convection, but is unstable to moist convection. This finding is consistent with a supersaturated atmosphere in which condensation-and hence moist convection-is inhibited. ..
  32. Coll P, Ramirez S, Navarro Gonzalez R, Raulin F. Chemical and optical behaviour of tholins, laboratory analogues of Titan aerosols. Adv Space Res. 2001;27:289-97 pubmed microscopy, solubility in hydrocarbons and nitriles, chemical composition, and optical behavior in the 200-900nm range), and finally investigates the following items: what are the key questions still remaining?; how to answer them? ..
  33. Kerr R. Planetary science. Saturn: the unfinished symphony. Science. 2004;304:1230-2 pubmed
  34. McKay C, Porco C, Altheide T, Davis W, Kral T. The possible origin and persistence of life on Enceladus and detection of biomarkers in the plume. Astrobiology. 2008;8:909-19 pubmed publisher
    ..001) for biological sources but is higher (0.1-0.01) for nonbiological sources. Thus, Cassini's instruments may detect plausible evidence for life by analysis of hydrocarbons in the plume during close encounters. ..
  35. Neish C, Somogyi A, Imanaka H, Lunine J, Smith M. Rate measurements of the hydrolysis of complex organic macromolecules in cold aqueous solutions: implications for prebiotic chemistry on the early Earth and Titan. Astrobiology. 2008;8:273-87 pubmed publisher
    ..toward the formation of biological molecules--is therefore fast compared to processes that occur on geologic timescales, which include the freezing of impact melt pools and possible cryovolcanic sites on Saturn's organic-rich moon Titan.
  36. Oro J, Mills T. Chemical evolution of primitive solar system bodies. Adv Space Res. 1989;9:105-20 pubmed
    ..Some of the outstanding problems concerning the synthesis of organic molecules on different cosmic bodies are also discussed from an exobiological perspective. ..
  37. Guillot T. Condensation of methane, ammonia, and water and the inhibition of convection in giant planets. Science. 1995;269:1697-9 pubmed Uranus and Neptune when methane reaches an abundance of about 15 times the solar value and in Jupiter and Saturn if the abundance of water is more than about five times the solar value...
  38. Parkinson C, Liang M, Yung Y, Kirschivnk J. Habitability of enceladus: planetary conditions for life. Orig Life Evol Biosph. 2008;38:355-69 pubmed publisher
    The prolific activity and presence of a plume on Saturn's tiny moon Enceladus offers us a unique opportunity to sample the interior composition of an icy satellite, and to look for interesting chemistry and possible signs of life...
  39. Mahaffy P. Intensive Titan exploration begins. Science. 2005;308:969-70 pubmed
    ..This moon of Saturn is unique in our solar system, with a dense nitrogen atmosphere that is cold enough in places to rain methane, the ..
  40. Hand E. Probe readies for dip into geyser on Enceladus. Nature. 2008;452:139 pubmed publisher
  41. Adámkovics M, Wong M, Laver C, de Pater I. Widespread morning drizzle on Titan. Science. 2007;318:962-5 pubmed
    ..The clouds and precipitation are optically thin at 2.0 micrometers, and models of "subvisible" clouds suggest that the droplets are 0.1 millimeter or larger. ..
  42. Griffith C, Penteado P, Rannou P, Brown R, Boudon V, Baines K, et al. Evidence for a polar ethane cloud on Titan. Science. 2006;313:1620-2 pubmed
    ..Preferential condensation of ethane, perhaps as ice, at Titan's poles during the winters may partially explain the lack of liquid ethane oceans on Titan's surface at middle and lower latitudes. ..
  43. Lorenz R, Wall S, Radebaugh J, Boubin G, Reffet E, Janssen M, et al. The sand seas of Titan: Cassini RADAR observations of longitudinal dunes. Science. 2006;312:724-7 pubmed
    ..The existence of dunes also requires geological processes that create sand-sized (100- to 300-micrometer) particulates and a lack of persistent equatorial surface liquids to act as sand traps. ..
  44. Trainer M, Pavlov A, Curtis D, McKay C, Worsnop D, Delia A, et al. Haze aerosols in the atmosphere of early Earth: manna from heaven. Astrobiology. 2004;4:409-19 pubmed
    ..We also show that as the C/O ratio decreases, the organic particles produced are more oxidized and contain biologically labile compounds. After life arose, the haze may thus have provided food for biota. ..
  45. Zebker H, Stiles B, Hensley S, Lorenz R, Kirk R, Lunine J. Size and shape of Saturn's moon Titan. Science. 2009;324:921-3 pubmed publisher
    Cassini observations show that Saturn's moon Titan is slightly oblate. A fourth-order spherical harmonic expansion yields north polar, south polar, and mean equatorial radii of 2574.32 +/- 0.05 kilometers (km), 2574.36 +/- 0...
  46. Dougherty M, Khurana K, Neubauer F, Russell C, Saur J, Leisner J, et al. Identification of a dynamic atmosphere at Enceladus with the Cassini magnetometer. Science. 2006;311:1406-9 pubmed
    The Cassini magnetometer has detected the interaction of the magnetospheric plasma of Saturn with an atmospheric plume at the icy moon Enceladus...
  47. Lorenz R, McKay C, Lunine J. Analytic investigation of climate stability on Titan: sensitivity to volatile inventory. Planet Space Sci. 1999;47:1503-15 pubmed
    ..If methane has been photolyzed throughout Titan's history, then this runaway can only be avoided if the photolytic ethane is removed from the surface-atmosphere system. ..
  48. Kempf S, Srama R, Postberg F, Burton M, Green S, Helfert S, et al. Composition of saturnian stream particles. Science. 2005;307:1274-6 pubmed
    During Cassini's approach to Saturn, the Cosmic Dust Analyser (CDA) discovered streams of tiny (less than 20 nanometers) high-velocity (approximately 100 kilometers per second) dust particles escaping from the saturnian system...
  49. Kerr R. Planetary science. Cassini's magnificent machines run rings around Saturn. Science. 2004;305:165 pubmed
  50. Raulin F. From exobiology to cosmobiology at LISA and elsewhere. Biol Sci Space. 1998;12:66-72 pubmed
    ..International cooperations linked to these programmes, in particular in the frame of the development of an exobiology facility on the International Space Station, would be of crucial interest. ..
  51. Hanford A, Long L. The direct simulation of acoustics on Earth, Mars, and Titan. J Acoust Soc Am. 2009;125:640-50 pubmed publisher
    With the recent success of the Huygens lander on Titan, a moon of Saturn, there has been renewed interest in further exploring the acoustic environments of the other planets in the solar system...
  52. Atreya S. Planetary science. Titan's organic factory. Science. 2007;316:843-5 pubmed
  53. Schulze Makuch D, Grinspoon D. Biologically enhanced energy and carbon cycling on Titan?. Astrobiology. 2005;5:560-7 pubmed
    With the Cassini-Huygens Mission in orbit around Saturn, the large moon Titan, with its reducing atmosphere, rich organic chemistry, and heterogeneous surface, moves into the astrobiological spotlight...