Titan may have 'ghost' crater

April 8, 2011 at 7:58 PM

TUCSON, April 8 (UPI) -- U.S. astronomers say a huge impact scar may exist, and would be the largest such structure, on the otherwise mostly smooth surface of Saturn's moon Titan.

Compared to other moons throughout the solar system, Titan has very few impact craters.

Robert Brown of the University of Arizona and colleagues spotted the roughly circular, 1,100-mile-wide bright patch near Titan's equator while studying infrared images snapped by the Cassini spacecraft, NewScientist.com reported Friday.

Radar data suggest Titan's crust is fractured in this area, something the researchers say would be expected following an impact.

The team says they believe a 35-mile wide body crashed into Titan early in its history, creating the surface feature.

Unlike fresh craters, the interior of the feature is only slightly lower than the surrounding landscape, suggesting its great age.

"It's like the ghost of a crater," Brown said.

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