A Few Fun Facts About Neptune
Neptune, the eighth planet in the Solar System is located between Uranus and Pluto and at times, it is referred to as the Blue Giant. Its diameter is close to 49,500 kilometers in diameter and thus it is almost four times the size of the Earth. The distance between the Earth and Neptune is about 4. 4 billion kilometers and thus, you cannot see it with your naked eyes. Even if you use the binoculars, you cannot see the planet well. Below we will discuss some of the compelling facts about Neptune.
The astronomers from ancient times observed Neptune including Galileo. Nonetheless, Galileo didn’t comprehend he was seeing a planet. In early times, there were no powerful telescopes to help the astronomers and researchers discern planets. Thus, when they discovered Neptune, the astronomers did not note the disk shape of the planet.
The astronomers and investigators found this planet using mathematical calculations. In 1843, a British astronomer and mathematician in was instrumental in determining the location of Neptune. By using the calculations, the astronomer, determined that Neptune was one billion miles farther away from the Sun compared to Uranus. Yet another French astronomer did the calculations and obtained comparable results to the British astronomer. Using the calculations developed by the French Astronomer, in September 23, 1846, Johann C Galle discovered Neptune. This discovery was also attributed to the French and British astronomers as their calculations were instrumental its discovery.
Because of its blue appearance, Neptune was named after the Roman god of the sea. Its naming follows the rest of the planets of the solar system which are all named after Roman gods.
Iron, nickel and other silicates make up this planet. Methane, ammonia, water, and other chemical substances make up the mantle of Neptune. Neptune’s mantle is very hot with temperatures which vary from 3000 to 5000K. The atmosphere consists of eighty percent hydrogen, 19% of helium and one percent of water, ammonia and methane.
The presence of methane in the atmosphere results in the blue color which characterizes this planet. It reflects blue light in space after absorbing the red light that comes from sunlight.
Astronomers and investigators have discovered thirteen moons which revolve around Neptune till now. It is possible that there are more moons which are yet to be discovered.
The Voyager 2 was the first spaceship to reach Neptune, and it did so in 1989. It took photos of the planet and using these images, researchers discovered that the planet has five rings. These rings are; Galle, LeVerrier, Adams, Lassel, and Arago. People believe that these rings formed a single planet when one of the moons of Neptune got very close and broke into millions of particles due to the gravity in Neptune.