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[ Asteroid ]

·Astronomy: Asteroid - TYPES OF ASTEROID
·Astronomy: Asteroid - Observing-HUNTING ASTEROIDS
·Astronomy: Asteroid - International Astronomical Union-JOHN. PAUL, GEORGE, AND R
·Astronomy: Asteroid - Finding-FINDING NEW ONES
·Astronomy: Asteroid - Discovery-MISSING PLANET
·Astronomy: Asteroid

  Neptune: Astronomy: Neptune - Geyser-GEYSERS AND ICEFIELDS
Posted on Saturday, December 04 @ 16:39:27 CST by astronomy


Voyager 2 confirmed the existence of five thin rings around Neptune and added six satellites to the two already known. It also took a close look at the largest satellite, Triton.

Two-thirds the size of our Moon, Triton displayed a varied face to the cameras— plains, impact craters, a strange cantaloupe terrain of pits and depressions crossed by ridges, and a southern hemisphere with a thin, pinkish ice cap of nitrogen. Triton also has plumes—geysers of nitrogen gas shooting 5 miles (8 km) straight up into a thin atmosphere of nitrogen and some methane. Winds then blow the gas plumes about 60 miles (100 km) downrange.

Triton is the only major satellite with a retrograde orbit. Scientists think it was captured by Neptune, maybe after drifting in from the Kuiper Belt (see p. 138). However, it has a much rockier composition than the comet-like objects orbiting in the belt. Perhaps it changed during capture, which possibly involved collisions with other, now-vanished moons.

Planetary scientists believe Triton may be providing us with a preview of Pluto, which is probably another Kuiper Belt refugee and has not yet been visited by any spacecraft.




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