Table of Contents
What is Triton look like?
Triton has a diameter of 1,680 miles (2,700 kilometers). Spacecraft images show the moon has a sparsely cratered surface with smooth volcanic plains, mounds and round pits formed by icy lava flows. Triton consists of a crust of frozen nitrogen over an icy mantle believed to cover a core of rock and metal.
Can we see Triton?
So far, only a single spacecraft has ever visited Triton. The sunlight results in seasonal changes to Triton’s surface pressure — the atmosphere thickens a bit after the sun causes frozen nitrogen, methane and carbon monoxide on Triton’s surface to sublimate into gas.
What’s weird about Triton?
Triton has many other unusual characteristics of interest. It is the only moon in the solar system that orbits in the opposite direction of its planet’s rotation, and its path around the planet lies at an extreme tilt, offset from Neptune’s equator by 23 degrees.
What is believed to be the origin of the dark streaks on the surface of Triton?
Global color mosaic of Triton, taken in 1989 by Voyager 2 during its flyby of the Neptune system. The dark streaks overlying these pink ices are believed to be an icy and perhaps carbonaceous dust deposited from huge geyser-like plumes, some of which were found to be active during the Voyager 2 flyby.
How big is Triton vs Neptune?
Also, with a diameter 5.5% that of Neptune, it is the largest moon of a gas giant relative to its planet in terms of diameter, although Titan is bigger relative to Saturn in terms of mass.
Is Triton going to crash into Neptune?
Discovered by Lassell in 1846 only a few weeks after the discovery of Neptune itself. Because of its retrograde orbit, tidal interactions between Neptune and Triton remove energy from Triton thus lowering its orbit. At some very distant future time it will either break up (perhaps forming a ring) or crash into Neptune.
Was Triton a dwarf planet?
Because of its retrograde orbit and composition similar to Pluto, Triton is thought to have been a dwarf planet, captured from the Kuiper belt.
Why is Triton so cold?
Triton is so cold that most of its nitrogen is condensed as frost, making it the only satellite in the solar system known to have a surface made mainly of nitrogen ice.
What planet has 21 moons?
In 1999 three new moons were discovered orbiting Uranus, a great gasball of a planet about 2 billion miles from Earth. The discovery raised the number of Uranian moons to 21, the most, as far as is known, in the skies of any planet.
What is the gravity on Triton?
Is Triton doomed?
Triton is most certainly a doomed moon. Strong tidal forces between the former planet and Neptune cause Triton to orbit in reverse. As its orbit decays, Triton is slowly moving closer to Neptune. In less than 100 million years, the big moon will approach within 2-3,000 miles of Neptune.
What will eventually happen to Triton?
Millions of years from now, Triton will move so close to Neptune that tidal forces will rip Triton apart, forming bright new rings around the giant planet. The thicker atmosphere and higher temperatures on Triton could create more and bigger geysers, and spread their plumes over larger regions of this frigid moon.