Astronomy: Triton Is Doomed

Like many scientists before him, Caltech Graduate Student Thomas McCord was searching for other answers when he made his unexpected discovery. Curious about the odd behavior of the planet Neptune's two moons, Triton and Nereid, he set out to make a mathematical analysis of their unusual orbits. Last week in the Astronomical Journal, he reported that his two-year, computer-aided investigation had not only accounted for the current state of the Neptunian satellites but had also given him a startling glimpse into the future: Triton, largest of the two moons, is doomed to smash into Neptune in a cataclysmic collision.


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