Kraken Mare

Kraken Mare /ˈkrɑːkən ˈmɑːr/ is the largest known body of liquid on the surface of Saturn's moon Titan. It was discovered by the space probe Cassini and was named in 2008 after the Kraken, a legendary sea monster.

Description

At 500,000 km², Kraken Mare is thought to be the largest body of liquid in Titan's north polar region. Its status as a sea of hydrocarbons (mainly liquid methane) was identified by radar imagery. Kraken Mare is thought to be larger than the Caspian Sea on Earth. Analyses of the Cassini radar altimeter data used as a sounder have shown that the main body of Kraken Mare is at least 100 m deep and likely deeper than 300 m. One of its northernmost bays (Moray Sinus) has a depth of 85 (−18, +28) m at its center and shows an attenuation of the signal in the liquid that is compatible with a composition of 70% methane, 16% nitrogen and 14% ethane (assuming ideal mixing). Shallow capillary waves 1.5 centimeters high moving at 0.7 meters per second have been detected on the surface of Kraken Mare.

An island in the sea is named Mayda Insula. Kraken Mare may be hydrologically connected to the second-largest sea on Titan, Ligeia Mare.

The narrow constriction in the sea at 317°W, 67°N, about 17 km wide and similar in size to the Strait of Gibraltar, officially named Seldon Fretum, has been termed the 'Throat of Kraken' and suggested to be a location of significant currents. Titan's orbital eccentricity may lead to tides of 1 m in Kraken Mare, generating currents here of 0.5 m/s and possibly whirlpools.

As part of the proposed Titan Saturn System Mission, a probe would splash down on Kraken Mare in order to scrutinize its composition, depth and numerous other properties.

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See also

External links

Uses material from the Wikipedia article Kraken Mare, released under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license.