Enthusiast compositions of the Huygens images 16 january 2005

Since the images of the Cassini-Huygens probe -- descending to Titan (moon of Saturn) -- have been published on the net, the people in IRC channel #space on irc.freenode.net have processed these raw images into amateur compositions and mosaics, rendering an image of Titan. Note that, since we are enthusiasts and not professionals, we are not responsible for the correctness of these images. This page summarizes the initial enthusiast results (click the thumbnails for full sized versions).

For more recent, higher quality compositions, visit the web site of Rene Pascal. More enthusiast compositions are available from Daniel Crotty and Christian Waldvogel. NASA, ESA and JPL have more pictures of Titan, Saturn, and the Cassini-Huygens mission.

All images are copyrighted ESA, NASA, JPL, university of Arizona and their respective compositors. These images are here to give you an impression of Titan, and are not suited to be adopted as a scientific basis. Please mirror the images when you want to include them in your forum, blog, web page... We do not allow deep linking.

Fully stitched panoramas

Christian Waldvogel created full panoramas of the Titan surface, one normal and a polar view. This submission is really awesome! (added Jan 15 2005 22:05 CET, colored version added Jan 16 2005 18:54)

Composite of a 360-degrees view during descent, using 11 of the raw images. the raw images were corrected in brightness, scale and perspective and then stitched together. Missing areas on dark bottom and sky were completed with two-color-gradients. No information was added. Colors in the colored version were adjusted according to the ESA/NASA's colored surface view.

Cartesian-to-polar-coordinate converted version of the composite panorama. This image shows a fish-eye-like 360 degrees view, as if the probe was looking downwards with a very wide lens.

There are numerous reports online of the correctness of the panoramas released by ESA/NASA, as can be seen for example here. I'm sure better panoramas will be published during the press conference ESA is giving on Friday morning.

René Pascal has been working on aligning the images, that make up the panoramas, correctly in order to make the most correct panorama to date. Make sure you have a look at his site, with all the information.

Mosaics of views looking straight down

Big mosaics

Jakub Friedl combined the mosaics from below to create a full map of the environment where Huygens landed. Currently, the mosaic lacks some details, and is not completely correct, but hints of what there is to come from ESA. The biggest problem in stitching the two mosaics from below together was the accumulation of errors when creating those two mosaics, which didn't allow them to fit in nicely. The current result is, however, very interesting, as it shows a lot of detail, and very differing lanscape terrain in each other's neighborhood. You may want to compare this mosaic with ESA's mosaic of the landscape) and find the differences. (added Jan 17 2005 04:32 CET)

Ricardo Nunes sent in a big mosaic (partly based on the images below) of the area where Huygens has landed (added Jan 16 2005 15:30 CET)

Daniel Crotty also created a big mosaic, and he's working toward connecting these two mosaics (added Jan 16 2005 16:52 CET)

Daniel also started fromscratch working on a more correct mosaic of the environment, creating a new mosaic which consists of 40 images

River systems by the shoreline

Mosaics by Daniel Crotty of descent images, showing a shoreline and a strange delta or river system (it doesn't seem like a delta as the flow seems to go the other way). The pictures are taken from about 16 kilometers altitude. The smallest visible features have a size of about 40 meters. It is assumed that the dark region is a "sea" or "lake" of some kind, and the lighter surface is not. Howeverm we are currently not aware if there is any knowledge of the composition of either lighter and darker plains. (added Jan 15 2005 03:50 CET)

I have bumpmapped the image for clearer details: (the "craters" you might see are photographing artefacts that only seem to be craters) (added Jan 15 2005 04:32 CET)

Marco Papi created a rendering of the delta structure. (added Jan 16 2005 14:23 CET)

Context of the river system

Context of the delta, also by Daniel (added Jan 15 2005 03:50 CET)

Rupert Scammell bump mapped the above image to better show the features. (added Jan 15 2005 04:08 CET)

Detail and context combined

I have combined these two images into one, insetting the detailed into the context. (added Jan 15 2005 09:42 CET)

Panoramic mosaic

Mosaic by Kevin Dawson, I have enhanced it for color/brightness (added Jan 15 2005 03:29 CET)

We are wondering about the "airstrip" on the left

The "airstrip" feature can be seen from pictures from above too, and shows how the "airstrip" is part of a river system (added Jan 16 2005 13:13 CET)

Points of reference between panoramic and mosaics

Kevin found references between the mosaic and the panoramic view, as indicated by the following image (added Jan 15 2005 04:23 CET)

Titan rendered

Mike Zawistowski has created a 3D rendering of Titan to provide us with an approximate rendering of what Titan might look like, based on the actual data, created with Terragen. Note that the coloring in the following image is a complete guess, the 3D terrain is based on the Titan data. (added Jan 16 2005 13:52 CET)

The following is a second attempt, with a better, more realistic color scheme (added Jan 17 2005 00:06 CET)

The viewpoint used in these images is given by the following image (added Jan 17 2005 00:06 CET)

The following rendering has a different viewpoint (added Jan 19 2004 22:32 CET)

Stereo images


Kevin also noticed that some of the images have been taken within a short time interval. He has selected two images that you can use to view Titan in stereo. Look at the following image, but focus your eyes such that the images collide into a new, 3d image. You'll see that the dark mountain range in the middle of the image sits in front the of the other mountains behind it. (added Jan 15 2005 06:30 CET)

3D red/blue anaglyph

An anonymous submitter has sent in the following anaglyph, so you can view titan with red/blue glasses, in stereo: (added Jan 15 2005 10:46 CET)


Animation of images of the surface

This animated gif flicks through the images of the surface of Titan and contains some strange artefacts. Near the end of the loop a vague "blob" jumps into camera view. We can only guess at what it is. Maybe a rain drop. Or snow. Or it's an artefact of the compression algorithms used. Maybe the space agencies know what it is, and tell us at their press conference.

Shockwave animation of the descent

How Huygens made the descent (.swf, animation), by Matthew Brock.

Animated gif of all images

Animated gif (11.7MiB) of all raw images knitted together



This work has been done by amateurs with no extensive scientific background, publishing the first images in under 8 hours. We'll have to wait for ESA/NASA/U of Az to deliver us the correct images, so please, take the resulting images on this page with a grain of salt (that was a disclaimer). We have shown, however, to be able to bring composited images online earlier than ESA/NASA/U of Az! It was an amazing night, these results have been gathered in about 8 hours time starting with the raw images and having no idea of what to expect, or what goals to reach.

The images that have been used are the same images that ESA/NASA/U of Az is using, and we expect that the resulting images created by the professionals will be more extensive than those on this page, but they will be based on the same quality raw images as used in the pictures below, so do not expect higher resolutions from ESA/NASA/U of Az.

The images have been taken with a 660nm-1000nm filter, with the DISR (Descent Imager/Spectral Radiometer) experiment on board Huygens during descent and after touch down. No other information was available that could have been entered into the results below. ESA/NASA/U of Az can combine these results of various experiments.

Mosaics and compositions created by ESA/NASA/U of Az can be found here.


We would all like to thank ESA, NASA, JPL and the University of Arizona for the organizing the Cassini-Huygens mission, for the engineering marvel that is the Huygens probe, and for sharing these wonderful pictures with the world. The source images are jointly copyrighted by these three institutions.

The images on this page are all copyrighted by ESA, NASA, JPL and the University of Arizona, and their respective creators. The compositions on this page are released into the public domain, and you are free to use them, as long as the respective owners' copyrights are inherited.

ESA and open source

In an article of Der Spiegel Online, a spokesperson of ESA confirms that this publication of raw images, to allow open source editing and compositing, is part of a study by ESA to see if the publication of the raws is indeed a good strategy. NASA has been successfully publishing raw images of the MER project online, and ESA is now testing this "open culture" too. I have contacted the organizations for their stand point this topic, and as long as copyright notices of ESA/NASA/JPL/University of Arizona are kept, this work is legit.


This list of images is compiled by Anthony Liekens, but credit is due where necessary. If you have more amateur images that should be posted or linked from here, send me an email at anthony@liekens.net.

Press coverage

This page has been covered by a lot of (both alpha-geeky and mainstream) news media.




Source images

Raw images

The raw images are now also available from the DISR product page

You can download a tar.gz file containing the raw images from Huygens here. (Note: these are all the images you could get, and this is also the best available resolution, scientists will have to do with these images, plus data acquired from other equipment, which we do not have for analysis)

Split images

All images in the above archive appear in triplets. This zipfile created by Neil Halelamien contains all triplets but split up in seperate images, for easier handling.

Contrast enhanced images

Contrast enhanced images can be found here

Contrast enhanced images that can be combined tomake panoramic views are here

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