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Facts about Titan

WASHINGTON—There are many mysteries about Titan, the moon of Saturn where the Huygens probe landed Friday. But some things are known:

_Distance from Saturn: 759,200 miles. Titan is one of 33 moons that orbit Saturn.

_Distance from Earth: about 750 million miles.

_Atmosphere: orange and opaque, 10 times thicker than Earth's, reaching 375 miles high off the surface. It's 95 percent nitrogen with methane and cyanide. Titan is the only moon in the solar system with clouds and a planetlike atmosphere.

_Diameter: 3,200 miles, larger than Mercury or Pluto. Second largest moon—Jupiter's Ganymede is the biggest—in the solar system.

_Orbit around Saturn: every 15.95 days.

_Surface temperature: 288 degrees below zero Fahrenheit (178 degrees below zero Celsius).

_Surface: Until Huygens landed, scientists weren't certain whether Titan's surface was solid or liquid. The successful landing indicated that it has a solid surface.

_Discovered: In 1655 by Dutch astronomer Christiaan Huygens.

_Titan in literature: Kurt Vonnegut Jr.'s "Sirens of Titan," Arthur C. Clarke's "Imperial Earth," Stephen Baxter's "Titan," Judge Dredd comic series, BBC television series "Red Dwarf," movie "Gattaca," anime "Cowboy Bebop" and video game "Titan Empire."


(c) 2005, Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.

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