Nitrogen and carbon monoxide molecules exist in the atmosphere of Earth in the form of gases. In fact, molecular nitrogen is a dominant gas present in the atmosphere which we breathe. On the other hand, carbon monoxide is a lethal contaminant in the air.
However, on Neptune’s largest moon, Triton, astronomers have found that nitrogen and carbon monoxide exist in the form of ice. These two gases can form their independent ices and can also condense in an icy spectral mix, a phenomenon which was uncovered in the 8-m Gemini South Telescope data. This mix may have been involved in the iconic geysers of Triton which were first observed in the images received from Voyager 2 space probe of NASA.
According to Stephen Tegler, lead author and an astronomer from the Norther Arizona University, though similar ice mix can be developed in the lab, the discovery of such particular infrared light wavelength on another planet is extremely unprecedented.
The Triton’s geysers were first caught by Voyager 2 in the south polar area of the moon in the year 1989 and since that time, various theories have concentrated on the possibility of an internal ocean being a key source of the erupted material. Or else, the geysers might have erupted when the Sun heats the ice layer on the surface of Triton, possibly involving the icy mix revealed by the Gemini data.