Mar 31st 2011, 11:37 by E O Hatterpol | NEPTUNE ORBIT
AHOY from Neptune! I'm feeling much better today, thanks for asking!
I spent most of yesterday nuzzled into a plush armchair with T H White's The Sword in the Stone, keeping my head low to avoid any pub invites from Right Hemispheres (RHs). One thing I'm looking forward to on this lengthy voyage is the chance to catch up on all the great works of literature I've been meaning to read.
Once I finished the book, I picked up another on Neptune & learned some pretty cool factoids: this bright blue ice giant was the first planet discovered by crunching numbers rather than peering through telescopes, it has fascinating, highly visible weather patterns & the only moon that orbits the wrong way.
You read that right; the moon Triton is in retrograde orbit, which means it's being flung around in the opposite direction of its planet's rotation. Scientists believe this irregular behaviour can be explained by a scenario involving not the natural formation of Triton in Neptune's orbit, but rather its capture from the outlying Kuiper Belt when it was but a wee dwarf planet.
To put it bluntly, Neptune said "Hey, Triton, you better hide ya wife, hide ya kids".
I also read in my book that Triton is expected to obliterate itself into myriad particles 3.6 billion years from now when its slowly deteriorating orbit brings it too close to Neptune. Don't be sad for Triton, though! It will take up the next phase of its life as a ring system.
Let's see, here: object going the wrong way, eventually crashes into a million pieces... yep! that sounds like my high school driver's ed course.
Stay in your lane, Triton!