Triton – The Backwards Moon

Throughout the outskirts of the universe, various mysterious secrets have evolved. Some have been uncovered. Yet some are still hidden in the wilderness of the cosmos. Likewise, our own solar system upholds some puzzling riddles. Their equations are still unsolved. One such phenomenon can be observed within our solar system. The Jovian planet, Neptune, surrounded by a system of 8 moons is quite bizarre in its characteristics. However, one of its moons – the Triton – snatches the term of “unusualness”. Hence, it should be subjected to further investigation.

Named after the son of Poseidon (Greek mythology) Triton was discovered by the British astronomer William Lassel in 1846. Since then, it has only been visited by one spacecraft – that is the Voyager 2, in 1989.

Weird Object: Neptune's Moon Triton | Astronomy.com

How did it come into formation?

Most of the moons get created as the planet itself gets created. There is a swirling ball of gas and materials that collapse down into the central planet and some of the debris leftovers accumulate into satellites. All of these dust particles, moons, obstacles are expected to go into the same direction around the planet. That’s quite understandable. But what’s incomprehensible is the fact that how do we get a moon, especially a large one to travel in the opposite direction?

A hypothesis have been considered:

Scientists debate on the fact that Triton wasn’t a part of Neptune at all! It came from somewhere else. It was flying through space until it hit something near Neptune and as a consequence, it was captured by the planet’s gravity. But this extraordinary idea partially solves the mystery. If the object that collided with Triton was large enough to slow it down and enable its capture, it was also likely large enough to destroy it. But to date, nobody is quite sure how Triton survived its hypothetical collision.

One of the few geographically active sites, its surface is relatively young with obvious impact craters. Having a retrograde orbit and a composition similar to Pluto, Triton is thought to be a dwarf planet, captured from the Kuiper Belt region.

What lies beneath Triton's ice | Astronomy.com

Composition of Triton:

Triton has a surface of mostly frozen nitrogen with a mostly watery-icy crust and an ice mantle including a substantial core of rock and metal. Water, a scarce component and the thread for life comprises Triton’s mantle enveloping the core. Triton’s interior has enough rock for radioactive decay to maintain a liquid subsurface ocean to this day. The presence of liquid water may suggest the evolution of various life forms.

There is so much left for human beings to understand, research and discover. Humankind has evolved through various stages of their life and brought up brilliant ideas, solving all the conundrum that tried concealing themselves. Likewise, Neptune’s largest satellite Triton sustains amazing features and characteristics. Only one part of the moon has been viewed. The side may also comprise other bewildering and astounding components!

Neptune's moon Triton fosters rare icy union

Bewilderment is completely understandable. Space may fill your mind with perplexity but at the same time, it enhances your thinking capability and imagination. Ranging from the smallest fundamental subatomic particles to gigantic galaxy clusters, Space sustains diversity. Want to plunge into the world of the cosmos? Stay tuned!