Raisha Islam

Raisha Islam

Grade: 7

School: Viqarunnisa Noon School & College

City: Dhaka

Topic: Triton

"Neptune’s satellite Triton is the seventh largest satellite of our solar system, and the first Neptunian moon to be discovered by human race. English astronomer William Lassell discovered Triton on October 10, 1846. Triton was thought to have been a dwarf planet captured from “Kuiper belt”. Triton has a retrograde orbit [it orbits in a direction opposite to the planet’s rotation]. It is to be noted that most of the outer irregular moons have a retrograde orbit and situate much more distant from their primaries. Moreover, their size is quite small in comparison to Triton. Triton’s color is reddish and its surface has blocky outcrops, ridges, troughs, furrows, hollows, plateaus, icy plains and few crates.

Artist's view of Voyager 2 at Triton
Undoubtedly, I agree with the statement that Triton’s color is reddish and obviously it is not done by magic like Harry Potter. So, the question would be“Why the color of Triton is reddish? The reddish color of Triton is thought to be the result of methane ice, which is converted to Tholins (under exposure to ultraviolet radiation). Moreover, lighter nitrogen frosts had covered older reddish material.

We know that Triton’s surface is covered with thin ice sheet. I assume that the solar radiation passes through the thin surface ice sheet; slowly heating and vaporizing subsurface nitrogen until enough gas pressure accumulates for it to erupt through the crust. This nitrogen plume activity is distinct from Triton’s larger scale cryovolcanic eruptions, as well as volcanic processes on other worlds, which are powered by internal heat.

I found keen interest on the cantaloupe terrain. On Triton’s western hemisphere, there are a few craters. Actually we can’t say them craters because they are all in similar size and have a smooth curve. I believe this is the oldest terrain on Triton and its skin is like a cantaloupe melon. I agree with a hypothesis which says- “the rising of lumps of less dense material though a stratum of denser material.” I have a little doubt about an alternative hypothesis which says- “formation by collapses or by cryovolcanism”. Because I don’t think cryovolcanism can do this as scientifically it seems quite illogical to me.

The largest crater in Triton is named “Mozamba.” The largest crater is about 27 km in diameter. The south polar region of Triton is covered with a highly reflective cap of frozen nitrogen and methane. I believe Triton must have a north polar cap. Four roughly circular “Walled Plains” have been identified on Triton. I totally agree that they are quite rare. Because they are the flattest regions so far discovered, with a variance in altitude of less than 200 meters.

We know that Neptune orbits the sun. That means Triton takes turns to the sun, resulting in seasonal changes as one pole, then the other moves into sunlight. Such changes were observed in 2010.

In the end, I would like to say that Triton is a mysterious satellite because of its shape (retrograde orbit) and almost 60% of its unrevealed things. A lot of research works are yet to be done to reveal the secrets of Triton, a mysterious satellite of the planet Neptune."

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