Could mysterious glimmer on Saturn's moon Titan be waves?

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Could Mysterious Glimmer On Saturn's Moon Titan Be Waves?

A part of Saturn's Moon Titan has appeared to be changing for years, and while scientists still aren't sure what the cause is, they have some interesting hypotheses.

The mystery began in 2013 when NASA's spacecraft Cassini captured a glimmer on the surface of methane and ethane lake known as Ligeia Mare.

According to the space agency, the bright spot was not present in 2007, appeared in a different form in 2014, and seems to have vanished again early last year.

Jason Hofgartner with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory hypothesizes that the activity could be icebergs, bubbles, or even waves.

As he told New Scientist, "If it is waves, it could be because of the change of seasons."

He also added that the moon could be heading into summer which would likely mean stronger winds.

Cassini's last flyby of Titan next year could provide additional insight into this mystery.

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Could mysterious glimmer on Saturn's moon Titan be waves?
This undated photo provided by NASA on April 2, 2014 shows Saturn's moon Enceladus. The "tiger stripes" are long fractures from which water vapor jets are emitted. Scientists have uncovered a vast ocean beneath the icy surface of the moon, they announced Thursday, April 3, 2014. Italian and American researchers made the discovery using Cassini, a NASA-European spacecraft still exploring Saturn and its rings 17 years after its launch from Cape Canaveral. (AP Photo/NASA, JPL, Space Science Institute)
This image provided by NASA shows Saturn's moon Enceladus is seen here as a white disk across the unilluminated side of Saturn's rings (black and white stripes across the bottom of the image). This image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Oct. 27, 2007. "Saturn's A-ring and Enceladus are separated by 100,000 kilometers (62,000 miles), yet there’s a physical connection between the two," says Dr. William Farrell of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. "Prior to Cassini, it was believed that the two bodies were separate and distinct entities, but Cassini’s unique observations indicate that Enceladus is actually delivering a portion of its mass directly to the outer edge of the A-ring." (AP Photo/NASA)
An image provided by NASA of Saturn's moon Enceladus was made by the Casini spacecraft during a fly-by on Aug. 11, 2008. This false-color mosaic combines Imaging Science Subsystem (ISS) narrow-angle camera images obtained through ultraviolet, green, and near-infrared camera filters. Areas that are greenish in appearance are believed to represent deposits of coarser grained ice and solid boulders that are too small to be seen at this scale. The whitish deposits represent finer grained ice. The mosaic shows that coarse-grained and solid ice are concentrated along valley floors and walls, as well as along the upraised flanks of the “tiger stripe” fractures. (AP Photo/NASA)
This illustration provided by NASA and based on Cassini spacecraft measurements shows the possible interior of Saturn's moon Enceladus - an icy outer shell and a low density, rocky core with a regional water ocean sandwiched in between the two at southern latitudes. Plumes of water vapor and ice, first detected in 2005, are depicted in the south polar region. Scientists have uncovered a vast ocean beneath the icy surface of the moon, they announced Thursday, April 3, 2014. Italian and American researchers made the discovery using Cassini, a NASA-European spacecraft still exploring Saturn and its rings 17 years after its launch from Cape Canaveral. (AP Photo/NASA, JPL, Caltech)
AP10ThingsToSee - This July 29, 2013 image provided by NASA shows that Winter is approaching in the southern hemisphere of Saturn and with this cold season has come the familiar blue hue that was present in the northern winter hemisphere at the start of NASA's Cassini mission. This view looks toward the non-illuminated side of the rings from about 44 degrees below the ring plane. Images taken using red, green and blue spectral filters were combined to create this natural color view. The images were taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera. The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. (AP Photo/NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute)
This Oct. 7, 2013 image provided by NASA shows the hazy atmosphere of Saturn’s moon Titan. NASA’s Cassini spacecraft was able to peer through the haze and spot lakes made up of hydrocarbons. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 809,000 miles (1.303 million kilometers) from Titan. Image scale is 5 miles (8 kilometers) per pixel. (AP Photo/NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute)
This June 16, 2011 photo provided by NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute shows Saturn's largest and second largest moons, Titan and Rhea, appearing to be stacked on top of each other in this true-color scene from NASA's Cassini spacecraft. The images were taken using red, green and blue spectral filters that were combined to create this natural-color view. (AP Photo/NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute)
CORRECTS YEAR TO 2013 INSTEAD OF 2011 - This July 29, 2013 image provided by NASA shows that Winter is approaching in the southern hemisphere of Saturn and with this cold season has come the familiar blue hue that was present in the northern winter hemisphere at the start of NASA's Cassini mission. This view looks toward the non-illuminated side of the rings from about 44 degrees below the ring plane. Images taken using red, green and blue spectral filters were combined to create this natural color view. The images were taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera. The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. (AP Photo/NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute)
This image provided by NASA of Saturn's moon Enceladus was made by the Casini spacecraft during a fly-by on Aug. 11, 2008. This false-color mosaic combines Imaging Science Subsystem (ISS) narrow-angle camera images obtained through ultraviolet, green, and near-infrared camera filters. Areas that are greenish in appearance are believed to represent deposits of coarser grained ice and solid boulders that are too small to be seen at this scale. The whitish deposits represent finer grained ice. The mosaic shows that coarse-grained and solid ice are concentrated along valley floors and walls, as well as along the upraised flanks of the ?tiger stripe? fractures. Every new discovery makes it seem more likely that we are not alone. The case for some kind alien life somewhere else in the universe is steadily building. In the past few days, scientists have revealed there are three times as many stars as they previously thought and that a bacteria can live on arsenic, expanding our understanding of how life can thrive under the harshest and strangest environments. Those came on the heels of the first discovery of a potentially habitable planet. (AP Photo/NASA)
AP10ThingsToSee - In this natural color mosaic image provided by NASA on Tuesday Nov. 12, 2013, Saturn eclipses the Sun as seen by the Cassini spacecraft on July 19, 2013. This image spans about 404,880 miles (651,591 kilometers) across. (AP Photo/NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI, File)
This photo provided by NASA Friday Nov. 22, 2013, shows a collage that includes about 1,600 images submitted by members of the public as part of the NASA Cassini mission's "Wave at Saturn" campaign. On July 19, 2013, Cassini maneuvered into a special location to take a picture of the Saturn system backlit by the sun. Blocking out the sun's rays also enabled Cassini to take a picture of Earth, which would normally require looking almost directly at the sun and risking damage to the cameras' sensitive detectors. The "Wave at Saturn" event was the first to tell earthlings in advance that their picture was being taken from interplanetary distances. This collage uses as a base image the backlit mosaic that was obtained on that same day, July 19, 2013, by the imaging cameras aboard Cassini. (AP Photo/NASA\JPL)
In this image provided by NASA Tuesday Dec. 18, 2012 NASA's Cassini spacecraft has delivered a glorious view of Saturn, taken while the spacecraft was in Saturn's shadow. The cameras were turned toward Saturn and the sun so that the planet and rings are backlit. In addition to the visual splendor, this special, very-high-phase viewing geometry lets scientists study ring and atmosphere phenomena not easily seen at a lower phase. (AP Photo/NASA)
ADDS DROPPED WORDS IN SECOND SENTENCE--An image provided by NASA shows Saturn's largest moon Titan passing in front of the giant planet in an image made by NASA's Cassini spacecraft. The natural color view of Saturn and one of it's moons was made by Cassini's wide-angle camera on May 6, 2012 and released by NASA on Wednesday Aug. 29, 2012. (AP Photo/NASA)
This July 19, 2013 image from the Cassini spacecraft provided NASA shows the planet Earth, annotated by NASA with a white arrow, lower right, below Saturn's rings. The image is only one footprint in a mosaic of 33 footprints covering the entire Saturn ring system, including Saturn itself. At each footprint, images were taken in different spectral filters for a total of 323 images: some were taken for scientific purposes and some to produce a natural color mosaic. This is the only wide-angle footprint that has the Earth-moon system in it. (AP Photo/NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute)
This image provided by NASA shows Saturn's largest moon Titan. A new study being released on Thursday, June 14,2012 suggests the presence of a hydrocarbon lake and several ponds near the equator of Titan, a surprise to scientists who thought lakes only existed at the poles. (AP Photo/NASA)
NASA's Cassini spacecraft obtained this unprocessed image on Dec. 12, 2011. The camera was pointing toward Saturn's moon Dione from approximately 69,989 miles (112,636 kilometers) away. NASA’s Cassini spacecraft successfully completed its closest-ever pass over Saturn’s moon Dione on Monday, Dec. 12, slaloming its way through the Saturn system on its way to tomorrow’s close flyby of Titan. (AP Photo/NASA)
This undated true color image by the Cassini spacecraft released by NASA shows Saturn's largest moon, Titan, passing in front of the planet and its rings. A new study released Thursday, June 28, 2012 suggests there may be an ocean below Titan's frigid surface. (AP Photo/NASA)
This Oct. 6, 2004 photo provided by NASA, taken by the Cassini Saturn Probe, shows the planet Saturn and its rings. One of the most evocative mysteries of the solar system, where Saturn got its stunning rings, may actually be a case of cosmic murder with an unnamed moon of Saturn, that disappeared about 4.5 billion years ago, as the potential victim. Suspicion has fallen on a disk of hydrogen gas, that surrounded Saturn when its dozens of moons were forming, but has now fled the scene. And the cause of death? A possible forced plunge into Saturn. (AP Photo/NASA)
This false-color composite image provided by NASA, constructed from data obtained by NASA's Cassini spacecraft, shows the glow of auroras streaking out about 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) from the cloud tops of Saturn's south polar region. It is among the first images released from a study that identifies images showing auroral emissions out of the entire catalogue of images taken by Cassini's visual and infrared mapping spectrometer. (AP Photo/NASA)
This image provided by NASA shows a Saturn image taken on Dec. 24, 2010 by the Cassini camera showing a storm, upper center, covering an area similar to that from London to Cape Town.(AP Photo/NASA)
A photo provided by NASA shows an image made February 24, 2009, by the Hubble Space Telescope of four moons of Saturn passing in front of their parent planet. In this view, the giant orange moon Titan casts a large shadow onto Saturn's north polar hood. Below Titan, near the ring plane and to the left is the moon Mimas, casting a much smaller shadow onto Saturn's equatorial cloud tops. Farther to the left, and off Saturn's disk, are the bright moon Dione and the fainter moon Enceladus. The banded structure in Saturn's atmosphere is similar to Jupiter's. The dark band running across the face of the planet slightly above the rings is the shadow of the rings cast on the planet. (AP Photo/NASA)
This image provided by NASA is a Hubble Space Telescope close-up view of Saturn's disk captures the transit of several moons across the face of the gas giant planet. The giant orange moon Titan – larger than the planet Mercury – can be seen at upper right. The white icy moons close to the ring plane are, from left,Enceladus, Dione, and Mimas, at right edge of the plaent. The dark band running across the face of the planet slightly above the rings is the shadow of the rings cast on the planet. The dark dots as the shadows cast by Enceladus and Dione. (AP Photo/NASA)
This photo provided by NASA shows water vapor jets, emitted from the southern polar region of Saturn's moon Enceladus. Scientists have uncovered a vast ocean beneath the icy surface of the moon, they announced Thursday, April 3, 2014. Italian and American researchers made the discovery using Cassini, a NASA-European spacecraft still exploring Saturn and its rings 17 years after its launch from Cape Canaveral. (AP Photo/NASA, JPL, Caltec, Space Science Institute)
This Nov. 27, 2005 photo provided by NASA shows Saturn's moon Enceladus, as seen from the Cassini orbiter. Scientists have found new evidence that one of Saturn's moons has an ocean beneath its surface. That's important because liquid water is a key ingredient for life. The blue color was added by NASA for dramatic effect. (AP Photo/NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute)
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