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Neptune's capture of its moon Triton in a binary-planet gravitational encounter

Summary: Neptune's capture of its moon Triton in a
binary-planet gravitational encounter
Craig B. Agnor1
& Douglas P. Hamilton2
Nature, 411, pp. 192-194, May 11, 2006
1Earth Sciences Department, Center for the Origin, Dynamics and Evolution of Planets, 1156 High Street, University of California, Santa Cruz,
California 95064, USA
2Department of Astronomy, University of Maryland at College Park, College Park, MD 20742-2421 USA
The cover image depicts Triton and its binary companion as they approach Neptune. As described in the Letter,
this encounter facilitated Triton's capture to an inclined retrograde orbit about the planet; an event that catastrophically
altered Neptune's satellite system. In the image Neptune is orbited by several primordial satellites that may have
existed prior to the depicted encounter. These satellites would have been destroyed by mutual catastrophic collisions
in the aftermath of Triton's capture to a large eccentric orbit. ( c 2006).
We kindly thank Steve Albers (NOAA, CIRA) for creating and providing surface maps of Triton (based on Voyager
2 images) as well as those of several other planets and satellites. These surface maps are maintained as a part of
NOAA's `Science on a Sphere project' http://laps.noaa.gov/albers/sos/sos.html. We also thank James Hastings-Trew
(for creating) and Constantine Thomas (for modifying) the surface map of Neptune (also based on images from the
Voyager 2 flyby) and making it available. Finally, we thank Jerry Gardner for creating the artistic surface and texture


Source: Agnor, Craig B. - Astronomy Unit, School of Mathematical Sciences, Queen Mary, University of London


Collections: Physics