much has been discussed about the possibilities of astronomy on the Lunar surface, the chang'e landers actually did a bit of it.

It would be very easy to monitor Io's volcanoes, Europa's plumes, and Jupiter's atmosphere from Callisto's surface, since its atmosphere is negligible.

However, Titan's atmosphere is notoriously opaque at visible wavelenghts. Cassini was able to do some moderate resolution mapping taking advantage of a few IR windows, while the Voyagers' instruments were not adequate for that purpose.enter image description here

A forum member on unmannedspaceflight.com speculated that Dragonfly might be able to take a picture of saturn against titans skyline... how cool would that be!!! but, beyond that, is there a science case here?

I toyed with Stellarium to see what would everything look like from Titan, and to my surprise, the rings seem to have a moderate but decent aperture. Not as great as from Iapetus, though. Saturn's atmosphere monitoring, and Enceladus plume science would be bonus.

Another consideration is that IR space telescopes benefit from cryogenic temperatures, titan's atmosphere is not only cold, but efficent at removing the heat.

My question is; how practical and useful would it be for a lander or a human colony to do dedicated astronomical infrared observations of the Saturn system? or maybe even the rest of the cosmos for that matter?

is there an obstacle, such as atmospheric turbulence, the presence of tholins, etc?... maybe the pictures would be too blurry for science? or anything that can be used to "point down" might as well be used to "point up"??

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    $\begingroup$ I would guess that almost anything can be done more easily by a space telescope in orbit around Saturn than from the surface of Titan. What ever is built, launched into space and transported to the Saturnian system, why not leave it in orbit there where "the air is clear"? What benefit could be gained trying to land it on the surface? Mirrors deform when you point them in different directions while supporting them against gravity, but in orbit they could be much lighter and larger. Even an interferometric array of radio telescopes could be implemented in space with lasers measuring distances. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Mar 16 at 22:31
  • $\begingroup$ For sure, an orbital observatory is always the optimal choice. However, I'm thinking more about what can be done from a city, scientific outpost, or a robotic lander that is on Titan to explore Titan itself. A $\endgroup$ – we'll see Mar 16 at 22:42
  • $\begingroup$ A space observatory cannot be as easily mantained, repaired as one that people can access to. If a city is built on Titan, it would be such a shame not to be able to learn more about the entire Saturn system from right there, without launching anything to space. $\endgroup$ – we'll see Mar 16 at 22:48
  • $\begingroup$ Hubble just had it's 20th anniversary in space. It certainly was maintained but yes at large cost and effort. JWST is planned to be maintenance free. The JWST - What happens if/when it breaks? and Is it possible to refuel the James Webb Space Telescope? as are all space telescopes (and there have been many!) But okay if you require that instruments be built on the surface of Titan, then that's different. I see what you mean now. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Mar 16 at 22:57

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