Color and chemistry on Triton

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Science  19 Oct 1990:
Vol. 250, Issue 4979, pp. 415-418
DOI: 10.1126/science.11538073


The surface of Triton is very bright but shows subtle yellow to peach hues which probably arise from the production of colored organic compounds from CH4 + N2 and other simple species. In order to investigate possible relationships between chemical processes and the observed surface distribution of chromophores, we classify the surface units according to color/albedo properties, estimate the rates of production of organic chromophores by the action of ultraviolet light and high-energy charged particles, and compare rates, spectral properties, and expected seasonal redistribution processes to suggest possible origins of the colors seen on Triton's surface.

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