October 1, 2017.
More than 35 million people in the western United States depend on the Colorado River as a Broadband Photometry will be obtained to provide data on Triton. Our data will be collected over a series of nights of time-resolved Bessel BVRI photometry using the 0.6-m telescope at the JPL Table Mountain Observatory (TMO) located in Wrightwood, California. The objective of these observations is to detect and measure volatile transport on Triton. The vapor pressures of nitrogen and methane vary over the seasonal cycles of Triton and Pluto. The seasonal migration of frost can be detected by a combination of changes in the rotational lightcurve. Previous work of Triton has shown that these exhibit the transport of volatiles on their surfaces. The purpose of acquiring another lightcurve is to determine whether volatile transport is still occurring and to track it. Our current goal is to fill in the missing longitudes that we not obtained during our last observations of Triton. Our previous work detected an opposition surge for the first time, and these observations will allow us to further characterize it. Our goal is to create detailed and longer-term comparisons of our data with Voyager images and other volatile-transport models. With our measurements and ground-based data of Pluto and Triton, we will hopefully have a greater understanding of seasonal volatile transport on Kuiper Belt Objects. This understanding will help us predict, search for, model, and possibly observe seasonal changes on other Kuiper Belt Objects.
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation through the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program under Grant # 1418852. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. The research was also made possible by the California State University STEM Teacher and Researcher Program, in partnership with Chevron (www.chevron.com), the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation (www.marinesanctuary.org) and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.