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Icy eruptions on Triton?

A new analysis of Voyager 2 images of Triton, Neptune's largest moon, indicates that a large region just north of the equator scatters light far differently than other areas of this icy satellite. The study suggests that a highly transparent layer of frost blankets this section of Triton, report Pascal Lee, Paul Helfenstein and their colleagues at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. Other regions may have more opaque frost deposits.

Additional processing of the photographs suggests that the transparent frost is thin, since astronomers believe they can discern three large, quasi-circular features beneath the ice in this region. Researchers speculate that cryovolcanism -- icy eruptions on Triton's surface -- may explain the circular features, whose diameters range from 280 to 935 kilometers.
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Title Annotation:Astronomy
Author:Cowen, Ron
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Nov 23, 1991
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