Could a methane rain on the moon Titan produce a rainbow under the right lighting conditions? If so, can the 'angle' of such a rainbow be predicted?

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ I found this link on the nasa website that discusses the possibility of rainbows on Titan: science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2005/25feb_titan2 $\endgroup$
    – Paul
    Aug 26, 2016 at 8:07
  • $\begingroup$ @Paul Thank you for the reference. It actually answers my question quite well, including the angle ( $49^\circ$ to $52^\circ$ degrees). It also mentions that a visible light rainbow would be very rare because of the haze but that an infrared rainbow would be possible. $\endgroup$ Aug 26, 2016 at 12:16

2 Answers 2


No. The atmosphere of Titan is a thick brown haze. What light penetrates is diffuse, scattered in all directions. It would be like looking for a rainbow in a fog bank.

A rainbow requires direct sunlight coming from one direction.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Quote from the Wikipedia article on the atmosphere of Titan: "The Huygens probe was unable to detect the direction of the Sun during its descent, and although it was able to take images from the surface, the Huygens team likened the process to "taking pictures of an asphalt parking lot at dusk". $\endgroup$
    – Farcher
    Aug 26, 2016 at 5:11

Extensing @Mmesser314 's pretty answer, it may be possible in its higher athmosphere. It depends on that does an altitude exist, where

  1. the atmosphere is already enough rare to see the Sun (thus, sunlight is mainly unidirectional)
  2. but, we aren't enough high to have small liquid methane drops in it.

Even if there is such an altitude, the rainbow wouldn't be visible from the surface (because even the Sun is not visible).


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.