Neptune and Triton 3 days after flyby. Triton is smaller crescent and is the closer of the two. Credit: NASA
Here’s a parting shot from the Voyager 2 spacecraft of the planet Neptune and its large moon Triton taken shortly after the historic flyby of August 25, 1989.
Triton is an odd moon. Inclined 23 degrees from the plane of Neptunes equator and orbiting the planet in the opposite direction of the planet’s rotation would seem to indicate Triton was captured by Neptune’s gravity and not formed with the planet. Many moons in the solar system are retrograde (mostly around Jupiter) but Triton is by far the largest, at 2,706 km, it’s not much smaller than our moon.
Triton is very cold, only 38 Kelvin or – 235 C (-391 F). You’d think it would be frozen solid, yet the moon has a rather “young” surface. It is thought when the moon was captured it not unxepectedly had an eliptical orbit which became circular over time thanks to tidal forces from Neptune. The flexing and streching of the moon created heat in the interior of the moon and led to volcanic activity. Volcanic activity in this case would involve ices and not lava.
Read more about Neptune here and Triton here.
Today is the 44th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing on the moon with the first steps on the moon just a few hours later.
Oddly enough I haven’t seen this mentioned anywhere in the press, not to say it isn’t, just not where I looked.
The Landing took place at 20:17.40 UTC (16:17.4 EDT) in the Sea of Tranquility.
Spacelog.org has the mission transcripts you can read the entire transcript from the begining if you have the time, Just click here to begin.
I’ve linked a couple of places to start reading to get you a little further along in the mission and you can explore from there if you like.
The first is from the point when Buzz Aldrin announces the program alarm
The second is from the begin of the first famous quote from the surface Houston, Tranquility Base here, the Eagle has landed.
I hope you enjoy the transcripts as much as I do.