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Scatterers in Triton's Atmosphere: Implications for the Seasonal Volatile Cycle

Pollack, James B. and Schwartz, Joel M. and Rages, Kathy (1990) Scatterers in Triton's Atmosphere: Implications for the Seasonal Volatile Cycle. Science, 250 (4979). pp. 440-443. ISSN 0036-8075. doi:10.1126/science.250.4979.440.

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Nitrogen and methane ices on the surface of Triton, Neptune's largest satellite, are exchanged between the summer and winter hemispheres on a seasonal time scale. Images of the satellite's sky obtained by the Voyager 2 spacecraft show the presence of several types of scattering materials that provide insights into this seasonal cycle of volatiles. Discrete clouds, probably composed of N_2 ice particles, arise in regions of active sublimation. They are found chiefly poleward of 30°S in the southern, summer hemisphere. Haze particles, probably made of hydrocarbon ices, are present above most, but not all places. Recent snowfall may have occurred at low southern latitudes in places where they are absent. The latent heat released in the formation of the discrete clouds may have a major impact on the thermal balance of the lower atmosphere. Triton may have been less red at the time of the Voyager flyby than 12 years earlier due to recent N_2 snowfall at a wide range of latitudes.

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Additional Information:© 1990 American Association for the Advancement of Science. Received 9 August 1990; accepted 20 September 1990. We are very grateful to J. Cuzzi, D. Cruikshank, D. Stevenson, and D. Crisp for their helpful comments. This work was supported by the Voyager Project under RTOP 889-59-10-07 and by NASA's Planetary Atmosphere Program under RTOP 154-10-80-01.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NASARTOP 889-59-10-07
NASARTOP 154-10-80-01
Issue or Number:4979
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20141215-112012878
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Official Citation:Scatterers in Triton's Atmosphere: Implications for the Seasonal Volatile Cycle James B. Pollack, Joel M. Schwartz, and Kathy Rages Science 19 October 1990: 250 (4979), 440-443. [DOI:10.1126/science.250.4979.440]
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:52813
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:15 Dec 2014 20:28
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 19:44

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