Fun Facts about The Planet Neptune
Ever since Pluto lost its status, Neptune has been considered the undisputed most distant planet from the Sun.
Although 5 of the planets in our solar system can be seen with the naked eye from Earth, Neptune can only be seen with a telescope. This is why the ancients never knew of its existence and why its discovery didn't happen until the 19th century.
Although Galileo Galilei made drawings of Neptune in 1612 and 1613, he mistook it for a fixed star, mainly because his telescope was too small to get a good view.
Two astronomers, one French and one British, share the credit for the discovery of the planet: Urbain Le Verrier and John Couch Adams. They actually used mathematics to show that something was affecting the orbit of Uranus, predicting not just the location, but also the mass of the new planet.
Using the information supplied by Urbain Le Verrier and John Couch Adams, it was them observed by a young astronomer, Johann Gottfried Galle, in 1846.
I hope that you enjoy reading my fun facts about Neptune and find them interesting!
1. Neptune is the 8th planet in the Solar System and the most distant from the Sun. At one time, Pluto was the most distant, but it lost its status as a planet.
2. Neptune is named after the Roman god of the sea, counterpart to the Greek god, Poseidon. According to Roman mythology, Neptune was the brother of Jupiter and Pluto, who ruled over the realms of Heaven, our earthly world, and the Underworld.
3. It is the fourth largest planet in the Solar System. It is about four times the size of the Earth.
4. It is considered by scientists to be a gas giant, and is mainly made up of hydrogen, helium, and methane.
5. Only one spacecraft has visited Neptune, Voyager 2 in 1989.
6. It experiences the most violent weather of all the planets in our Solar System, with winds that reach speeds of speed of 2,000 km/hour..
7. A day on Neptune lasts only 16 hours in Earth time.
8. A year lasts for 165 Earth years.
9. Gravity is actually pretty similar to Earth with only a 17 percent difference. That means that if you weigh 70 pounds (32 kg) on Earth, you would weigh 78.5 pounds (36 kg) on Neptune.
10. Its color appears as blue because of the methane in its atmosphere which reflects the blue wavelengths of light from the Sun.
11. Because it is so far from the Sun, Neptune is one of the coldest planets in the Solar System, with an average temperature of around -200Â° Celsius.
12. It has 13 known moons. The biggest of them is called Triton, which was discovered in 1846 by the English astronomer William Lassell. His discovery of Triton happened only 17 days after the discovery of Neptune itself.
13. Triton is gradually getting nearer to the planet and it is thought that eventually it will get so close, it will be ripped apart by Neptune's gravity and form rings, rather like Saturn's.
14. Triton is also interesting because it orbits in the opposite direction to the way that the planet rotates. It is the only large moon in our Solar System that is known to do this.
15. In 2003, there was a NASA proposal to send another spacecraft to Neptune. The plan was that it would be launched in around 2016 and take somewhere between 8 and 12 years to reach its destination. This plan appears to have been shelved, however.
Facts About Our Solar System
- The Solar System is more than 4.5 billion years old.
- Scientists believe that there are several billion other solar systems in our galaxy, the Milky Way.
- Our system is made up of the Sun, 8 planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune), 5 dwarf planets (including Pluto), more than 160 moons, 3,000 comets, half a million asteroids, as well as plenty of dust, and gas.
- Scientists divide the solar system into regions: the inner Solar System; the Asteroid Belt; the outer gas giant planets; the Kuiper Belt; a ring of asteroids and comets out beyond the orbit of Neptune; and the Oort Cloud.
© 2012 Paul Goodman