6 Unique Evidence of Triton, the Largest 'Moon' of the Mysterious Planet Neptune

6 Unique Evidence of Triton, the Largest 'Moon' of the Mysterious Planet Neptune

Illustration of Neptune seen from the surface of Triton

Illustration of Neptune seen from the surface of Triton


Netgenz - Sains | Most planets have satellites orbiting them. While Earth has the Moon, Neptune has 14 satellites orbiting it. Of all, the Triton is the biggest. It was found that this satellite was discovered just 17 days after researchers discovered the planet Neptune. British astronomer William Lassell discovered Triton on October 10, 1846.

At that time, this satellite had not been named and was simply referred to as "the moon of the planet Neptune". The new naming was carried out when another satellite, Nereid, was discovered. "Triton" is named after the son of Poseidon, a god in Greek mythology. Due to its uniqueness, Triton is quite popular among some astronomers. What is meant by specificity? Check the explanation below.

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1. The orbital path is different from other satellites

Illustration of the planet Neptune as seen from Triton

Illustration of the planet Neptune as seen from Triton


Usually, the direction of the satellite's orbit is in line with the rotation of the planet. This always applies especially if the "moon" has a large size. Triton, quoted by NASA Science SOLAR SYSTEM EXPLORATION, has until now been one of the large satellites that have an orbit that intersects with the rotation of its planet. This is called a retrograde orbit.

Odyssey Magazine released that the unusual direction of Triton's orbit raises doubts among some astronomers. They suspect that this satellite is an external object from the Kuiper belt that was accidentally carried into Neptune's gravity. The concern exists because Triton is larger than Neptune's other satellites.

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2. Has a higher density than other satellites

Triton surface view illustration

Triton surface view illustration


Quoted by NASA Science SOLAR SYSTEM EXPLORATION, Triton's surface was created from a nitrogen crust that covered the ice mantle that bulged at its base. Anyway believed to be divided into rocks and metals.

The density of this satellite is also about 2x higher than water. Apparently, this character is above the average of most of the outer planet's satellites that have been measured. This shows that the Triton tree contains more rocks.

In addition to its large size and high density, its mass is apparently quite large. AAS NOVA was released if this satellite contributed 99.7% of the overall mass of the Neptune satellite mechanism. It is not surprising that Triton became the 7th largest satellite and 16th largest celestial body in the solar system.

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3. There are several "volcanoes" made of ice on top

ice volcanoes illustration

ice volcanoes illustration


Triton, Io, and Venus are among the objects in the solar system found to have active volcanic activity. The sheer number of rift valleys and ridges that pressurize Triton's surface shows a lot of volcanic and tectonic activity going on.

Antiquely, the "volcano" that is above this celestial body is made of ice or what is often referred to as ice volcanoes. According to Astronomy Track, instead of spitting hot lava, ice volcanoes spew water ice, and ammonia as a result of endogenic geological processes. This usually occurs due to faults caused by strong collisions.

Ice volcanoes that exist above the cold Triton are called cryovolcanoes. National Geographic released if the characters and their mechanism of action are similar to volcanoes on Earth. The difference is only in the contents of the mountain kitchen. Cryovolcanoes contain liquid material that is divided into cold water and ammonia.

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4. The top surface scheme is unique like a melon

Triton surface portrait

Triton surface portrait


In addition to having many mountains and valleys, Triton has a strangely patterned surface that looks like a melon. The scheme mentioned cantaloupe terrain is divided into craters, geysers, and steep landscapes. The creation of this pattern is due to the activity in the array that moves material from the Triton soil upwards.

The cantaloupe terrain, quoted from the Astronomy Track, covers almost 1/2 of the west side of Triton's surface. The craters that make up the scheme bend almost the same size, with a diameter of about 30-40 km. The curve looks soft so it is predicted that it was not created by the collision above.

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5. Relatively young surface age

Triton surface illustration

Triton surface illustration


According to a report from Science Direct, the number of visible faults in Triton is a guide if the surface of the satellite is still relatively young. Besides, there was no sharp fracture that created light above the newly created one. Only a few sides of the surface terrain survive, namely the cantaloupe terrain.

Quoted by Astronomy, Triton's surface, which is made of ice, is very young compared to other satellites. Estimated age under 10 million years.

The transformation that occurred in that place made astronomers think something was moving beneath it. It's still a mystery whether this is due to the movement of rocks or because there is a sea on the surface of Triton.

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6. Triton has a long season

Triton's south pole focus portrait


Quoted by the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Triton is a satellite that has seasons, namely winter and summer. However, one season there lasts an average of 40 years.

The Fact Site reports that even though it orbits a planet that is quite far from the Sun, the star's glow affects Triton's seasonal shift. In summer, the atmosphere will thicken. Because the hot air makes the nitrogen evaporate and cause geysers. Meanwhile, during winter, the atmosphere created from nitrogen, methane, and carbon monoxide condenses into snow.

While there were quite a few surprising things about the Triton, no aircraft with special vision had been sent there for direct assessment. So far, the satellite has been seen by astronomers and researchers from Earth using binoculars.

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