*

Global shade mosaic that Triton, take away in 1989 by Voyager 2 during its flyby of the Neptune system. Photo Credit: jajalger2018.org/JPL/USGS


Discovery

Triton was uncovered on Oct. 10, 1846 by british astronomer william Lassell, just 17 job after Neptune itself to be discovered.

You are watching: Why do astronomers believe that triton is a captured moon?

Overview

Triton is the biggest of Neptune's 13 moons. The is unusual due to the fact that it is the only large moon in our solar device that orbits in opposing direction of its planet's rotation―a retrograde orbit.

Scientists think Triton is a Kuiper Belt Object caught by Neptune's gravity numerous years ago. That shares many similarities through Pluto, the ideal known civilization of the Kuiper Belt.

Like our very own moon, Triton is locked in synchronous rotation v Neptune―one side encounters the planet at every times. But due to the fact that of its unusual orbital inclination both polar areas take turns facing the Sun.


A 3D version of Triton, a moon of Neptune. Credit: jajalger2018.org Visualization an innovation Applications and advancement (VTAD)› Download Options

Triton has a diameter the 1,680 miles (2,700 kilometers). Spacecraft images show the moon has actually a sparsely cratered surface with smooth volcano plains, mounds and also round pits formed by icy lava flows. Triton consists of a crust of frozen nitrogen over an icy mantle thought to sheathe a main point of rock and also metal. Triton has actually a density around twice that of water. This is a greater density than that measure up for practically any other satellite that an external planet. Europa and also Io have higher densities. This suggests that Triton contains more rock in its interior than the icy satellites the Saturn and Uranus.

Triton's thin setting is composed greatly of nitrogen with little amounts of methane. This environment most likely originates indigenous Triton's volcano activity, i m sorry is propelled by seasonal heating by the Sun. Triton, Io and also Venus are the only bodies in the solar system besides planet that are known to be volcanically active at the present time.

Triton is among the coolest objects in our solar system. It is for this reason cold that most of Triton's nitrogen is condensed together frost, providing its surface ar an icy sheen that reflects 70 percent the the sunlight that hits it.

See more: Companies That Hire 16 Year Olds In 2021 (Part, Companies That Hire 16 Year Olds

jajalger2018.org's Voyager 2―the only spacecraft come fly past Neptune and Triton―found surface ar temperatures the -391degrees Fahrenheit (-235 degrees Celsius). During its 1989 flyby, Voyager 2 additionally found Triton has active geysers, making it among the couple of geologically active moons in our solar system.

How Triton acquired its Name

Triton is named after the child of Poseidon (the Greek god equivalent to the roman inn Neptune). Until the exploration of the second moon Nereid in 1949, Triton was generally known as merely "the satellite the Neptune."