36th DPS Meeting, 8-12 November 2004
Session 2 Cassini at Saturn II
Special Session, Monday, November 8, 2004, 10:30am-12:noon, Lewis

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[2.01] Cassini RADAR : First Encounter with Titan

C. Elachi, Y. Anderson, R. Boehmer, P. Callahan, G. Hamilton, M. Janssen, W. T. K. Johnson, K. Kelleher, R. Lopes, S. Ostro, L. Roth, S. Wall, R. West (JPL), M. Allison (NASA/GISS), C. Wood (PSI), F. Posa (Politecnico di Bari), E. Stofan (Proxemy Research), H. Zebker (Stanford University), R. Lorenz, J. Lunine (LPL, University of Arizona), G. Francescetti (University of Naples), G. Picardi, R. Seu (University of Rome "La Sapienza"), D. Muhleman (California Institute of Technology), P. Encrenaz (DEMIRM/Obs. de Paris), R. Kirk (USGS)

Titan's thick, hazy atmosphere poses challenges to optical and near-infrared imaging of its surface, and to studies of surface topography in particular. Cassini therefore carries a sophisticated Ku-band multimode radar, operating with 5 beams generated with Cassini's 4m high-gain antenna. This instrument can be operated only close to Titan will be used on around half of Cassini's Titan encounters.

The Cassini TA flyby with Titan on 26 October 2004 has a closest approach altitude of 1200km, and features several RADAR observations. The instrument will perform scatterometry over part of the antisaturn hemisphere of Titan, including the planned Huygens probe landing site on the inbound leg of the flyby. Shortly before closest approach, the Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) mapping mode of the instrument will be used to image a small region (~0.5 of the surface at around 40 deg N latitude with a planned resolution of between 0.4 and 2km. Additional observations outbound from Titan include a short altimetry swath, additional scatterometry, and a low-resolution full-disk passive radiometry map. We will present the available results from the initial analysis of the active measurements of this first Titan encounter.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 36 #4
© 2004. The American Astronomical Soceity.