Neptune and Triton

Image Credit: Adam Brown

Making these animations is fun! Time consuming, but fun. This time I was able to get Neptune and its largest moon, Triton, over the course of five days (Aug 15-19, 29015). 

I was surprised to see how fast Triton spins around Neptune. Here's a closer and slower view:

Image Credit: Adam Brown

Neptune is the furthest known planet from the sun in our solar system. Its orbit is between 2.7 and 2.9 billion miles from Earth. Neptune has 13 moons that we know of, but Triton is by far the largest of the bunch with a diameter of 1,680 miles. It's also the only known moon in the solar system to have a retrograde orbit, meaning that it orbits Neptune in the opposite direction from Neptune's rotation. Notice the counter-clockwise motion of Triton? Compare that to the moons orbiting Uranus:

Image Credit: Adam Brown

Because of its retrograde orbit, many astronomers believe that Triton was a Kuiper Belt Object (like Pluto) that was captured by Neptune's gravity. Voyager 2 is the only spacecraft to visit Neptune, and that was way back in 1989. I'm sure Neptune has exciting secrets to discover if we had the will to send a spacecraft to investigate more closely.

Next, I going to try an asteroid or a comet. Thanks for all of the nice feedback you've been giving me. I'm glad you are enjoying the images.

Creative Commons License Works on this page credited to Adam Brown are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.