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Saturday, 27 August 2016

Neptune

HISTORY

Galileo Galilei was the first astronomer to observe the planet Neptune on January 28, 1613, although he mistakenly cataloged it as a fixed star.

Neptune was officially discovered 233 years later on September 23, 1846 when using mathematical predictions by French mathematician Urbain Le Verrier and Cornwall-born astronomer John Couch Adams, German astronomer Johann Gottfried Galle became the first person to observe Neptune and recognize it as a hitherto unknown planet.

Neptune

Neptune was the first planet to be discovered by mathematical calculations before it was actually seen by a telescope.

The planet Neptune has barely completed one orbit since it was discovered in 1846.

Neptune has a faint and fragmented ring system, which was first detected in 1968 by a team led by Edward Guinan. On August 25, 1989 the Voyager 2 spacecraft made its closest approach to Neptune and provided definitive proof of the existence of the planet's rings.

Neptune's rings

THE PLANET

Summer lasts 40 years as the planet takes nearly 165 years to orbit the Sun. Even so, the average temperature on the planet is minus 328f (minus 200c).

The strongest winds found on any planet in our solar system are found on Neptune. Wind speeds there reach up to 1,340 miles per hour. They are so fast they break the sound barrier.

Even though it is only a small part of the atmosphere, methane gas is what gives Neptune its blue hue. Methane absorbs red light, so when we look at Neptune, all we see is the blue that is not absorbed.


Neptune is the only planet not visible to the naked eye. This is due to the planet's extreme distance from the Earth.

Neptune is so far from the sun that high noon on the big blue planet would seem like dim twilight to us. The warm light we see here on our home planet is roughly 900 times as bright as sunlight on Neptune.

The planet Neptune emits more light than it receives from the Sun.

One year on Neptune is equal to about 165 Earth years. This fact makes Neptune the planet with the longest year.

MOONS

Neptune has 14 known moons. Triton is the largest Neptunian moon, comprising more than 99.5% of the mass in orbit around Neptune, and it is the only one massive enough to be spheroidal.

Triton's surface temperature is at least −237.6 °C, making it the coldest place in our solar system. Its cold temperature is because the moon's nitrogen ice is in the warmer, hexagonal crystalline state, and the phase transition between hexagonal and cubic nitrogen ice occurs at that temperature.

A Voyager 2 mosaic of Triton

Triton has a weird, backward orbit that has it inching closer to Neptune each year. When the two finally collide, the moon will be shredded into beautiful rings that may rival those of Saturn. The collision won't occur for another 10 million to 100 million years.


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