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Recent physical data of the Triton surface characteristics are given, with particular reference being made to the factors determining the mechanisms of that satellite's surface evolution. It is suggested that the photolysis, caused in Triton's ice surface by short-wave Solar radiation, should be considered as the basic mechanism responsible for the evolution of the surface of the satellite. Photodissociation of the CH4+h→CH3+H-type is discussed. Ethane C2H6 is shown to be the basic substance resulting from the above mentioned photodissociation and subsequent reaction involving CH3 molecules. The time required for full photodestruction of CH4 ice on Triton surface has been calculated, as well as the surface temperature of the satellite. Some other issues are touched upon.
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Keywords: Planets; Solar system; Surface evolution; Triton

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Abastumani Astrophysical Observatory, 383762 Abastumani, Georgia

Publication date: 2003-02-01

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