Triton Trumpet

Snails are supposed to be small.

Like most things creepy and crawly, we are comfortable in having a large size advantage over these strange lifeforms that share our world. Encounter a snail that is a thousand times the size of the average backyard snail, and we take notice.

Triton and helmet snails are this big. This one was at least 14 inches from tip to tip, probably tipping the scale at ten pounds. With the large foot completely extended the apparent size doubles. An impressive snail indeed, pretty too, once you get over the surprise…

Triton Trumpet
Triton trumpet (Charonia tritonis) hunting the reef at night

Neptune and Triton

Mike Brown did more than give a lecture while in Hawai’i. He just finished a four day observing run using Keck 2 with AO and OSIRIS, as well as gathering data with NIRSPEC. The target? Among other things Mike and his team observed Neptune and the large moon Triton. Triton is thought to be a captured KBO (Kuiper Belt Object). These objects, including well known Pluto, and lesser known, but just as large objects like Eris, Haumea, Makemake and Quaoar, are Mike’s area of expertise.

It is always nice to see a system I help maintain operating well and producing images like this…

Triton and Neptune
A Keck AO / OSIRIS photo of Neptune and the large moon Triton, credit Mike Brown/CalTech