Discovery of HCN ice on Triton

Dale Cruikshank and Cristina Dalle Ore are collaborating with Martin Burgdorf (SOFIA group at Ames) and Tomohiko Sekiguchi (Tokyo) in the interpretation of a spectrum of Triton obtained with the Japanese AKARI telescope in space. They have submitted a paper to Astronomy and Astrophysics, and will present some preliminary results of the work at the AGU meeting in December. This first result reports the discovery of HCN (hydrogen cyanide = “prussic acid”) ice on Triton. HCN is the first “processed” molecule found on Triton, and joins nitrogen, methane, water, carbon dioxide, and carbon monoxide ices found earlier.