A discovery concerning Triton, a moon of Neptune, was made by an international team of astronomers who used the telescopes of the Gemini observatory in Chile.
By analyzing the infrared light signatures of this natural Neptune satellite researchers have discovered that carbon monoxide and nitrogen molecules can not only form their independent ice clusters but can also unite and vibrate in unison.
According to the researchers, this mixture of frozen gases may be involved in the process of expelling material through the surface through the geysers, something that had already been noted by NASA spacecraft previously. This process can also trigger seasonal changes in the atmosphere.
“Identifying this specific wavelength of infrared light on another world is unprecedented,” says Stephen Tegler, a professor at the University of Northern Arizona and author of the study along with other colleagues.
According to the same researchers, this discovery, which represents the first direct spectroscopy test of the fact that ice like these, formed by gas at low temperatures, can help shed light on the composition of frozen gases in other worlds, for example on proton.