Astronomy Picture of the Day
February 18, 2013

Still in the Abyss...
Still in the Abyss...

Credits: NASA/JPL - Voyager 2 Project - Credits for the additional process. and color.: Dr Paolo C. Fienga/Lunar Explorer Italia/IPF

Features as small as approx. 100 Km (such as a little more than 62 miles) across can be seen in this Absolut Color Image of Neptune's moon Triton, photographed by the NASA - Voyager 2 Spacecraft on August 20, 1989, while it was still approx. 5,4 Million KiloMeters (such as about 3,35 Million Miles) from Neptune. Triton's overall light pinkish color may be due to the heavy irradiation (---> the action of the Cosmic Rays and other Charged Particles, including the ones forming the Solar Wind) of the Ice (and, maybe, other Elements which were already) existing on the Surface of this distant Celestial Body.

The dark areas near the top of the image seem to be part of a belt of dark markings observed near Triton's Equator at different Longitudes. However - and generally speaking -, the darker areas visible on Triton appear to be somewhat redder in color than the brighter ones. The central Longitude in the image is 123° East. The South Pole of Triton is at about 6 o'clock of the disk, approximately 1/6th (one sixth) of the way up from its lower limb.

This frame (which is the Original NASA - Voyager 2 color frame published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 02246) has been additionally processed and then re-colorized, according to an educated guess carried out by Dr Paolo C. Fienga (LXTT-IPF), in Absolute Natural Colors (such as the colors that a human eye would actually perceive if someone were onboard the NASA - Voyager 2 Spacecraft and then looked outside, towards the Neptunian moon Triton), by using an original technique created - and, in time, dramatically improved - by the Lunar Explorer Italia Team. Different colors, as well as different shades of the same color, mean, among others, the existence of different Elements present on the Surface of Triton, each having a different Albedo (---> Reflectivity) and Chemical Composition.

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