Temperature and Thermal Emissivity of the Surface of Neptune's Satellite Triton

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  19 Oct 1990:
Vol. 250, Issue 4979, pp. 429-431
DOI: 10.1126/science.250.4979.429


Analysis of the preliminary results from the Voyager mission to the Neptune system has provided the scientific community with several methods by which the temperature of Neptune's satellite Triton may be determined. If the 37.5 K surface temperature reported by several Voyager investigations is correct, then the photometry reported by the imaging experiment on Voyager requires that Triton's surface have a remarkably low emissivity. Such a low emissivity is not required in order to explain the photometry from the photopolarimeter experiment on Voyager. A low emissivity would be inconsistent with Triton having a rough surface at the ∼100-µm scale as might be expected given the active renewal processes which appear to dominate Triton's surface.