Is Neptune a planet?
Neptune is the eighth and last planet in the solar system and the smallest of the four gas giants (large planets primarily composed of different gases instead of rock or any solid material), the others being Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus.
Where is Neptune situated in the solar system?
Neptune is the farthest planet from the sun, followed by Pluto. But, the latter is no longer considered a planet, leaving Neptune to be counted as the last planet in our solar system.
When was the planet Neptune discovered?
Neptune is the first planet to be discovered through mathematical calculations before it was actually observed by German astronomer Johann Gottfried Galle in the year 1846.
Who discovered Neptune?
Following the discovery of the planet Uranus (1781), astronomers noticed that the planet was not moving exactly as expected. French mathematician Urbain Joseph Le Verrier then proposed the existence of another hitherto unknown planet that might be the reason behind the unexpected movements of Uranus. However, all French astronomic organizations ignored this theory, forcing Verrier to contact Johann Galle who first observed the new planet from the Berlin Observatory. Triton, the first and largest satellite of Neptune, was discovered only seventeen days after the discovery of the planet itself.
How was Neptune named?
The first five planets visible to bare human eyes were named by ancient Romans after their Gods. So, when the rest of the planets were discovered with the use of telescope, astronomers considered following the same tradition to continue naming the planets after mythological deities. Several names were proposed for the planet after its discovery, including Janus (proposed by Johann Galle) and Oceanus. But then Verrier claimed the right of naming the planet as its discoverer and named it Neptune after the Roman God of the seas.
Composition and atmosphere of Neptune
Neptune’s atmosphere mainly comprises of hydrogen, helium and a smaller amount of methane.
What is the size and diameter of Neptune?
It is the fourth largest planet in the solar system with a radius of 24,622 km (15,299 miles) and a diameter of 49,500 km (30757.9 miles). The enormous planet has a volume of 6.25 x 1013 km3 and circumference of 155,600 km (96,685 miles).
How much does Neptune weigh?
The planet is ranked at the third position (ahead of Uranus) in terms of total mass, weighing 1.02 x 1026 kilograms.
10 interesting facts about Neptune
- Neptune was the last planet to be discovered because of its great distance from the sun.
- The gas giant is 3.9 times larger than our Earth in terms of diameter, meaning you could fit 4 Earths side by side to match its diameter.
- Its volume is 58 times that of the Earth.
- Neptune was named after the Roman Sea God because of its azure blue coloration that results from the methane gas in its atmosphere (methane absorbs the color red and reflects the shades of blue).
- Like other gas giants, Neptune has multiple rings around it. Six rings having varying thicknesses have been discovered so far; but astronomers believe them to be relatively young and short-lived than those of other similar planets.
- This planet has the wildest weather in our entire solar system. Its winds are about 9 times stronger than those of the Earth and 3 times stronger than Jupiter’s. It is also the coldest planet.
- Its surface gravity is 110% that of the Earth, meaning a person weighing 100 lbs on Earth would weigh 110 lbs on Neptune.
- The surface of the planet is made of gas and ice (possibly with a solid core), so it is impossible to stand on its surface without drowning.
- Due to the great distance, Neptune takes much longer than Earth to travel around the sun. So, while one Earth year consists of 365 days, one Neptunian year consist of 60,190 Earth days or 164.79 Earth years.
- The only time this planet has been visited by mankind was on the 25th of August, 1989, when NASA’s Voyager 2 passed within three thousand kilometers of its north pole.
|Distance from the sun||4,503,000,000 km (2,798,000,000 miles)|
|Distance from Earth||4,300,000,000 km (2.7 billion miles, at their closest, lining up on one side of the sun)|
|Orbit period||165 earth years (60,225 earth days)|
|Largest satellite||Triton (about the size of our own moon)|
|Surface temperature||-201 °C (-393.8 °F)|
|Mean density||1.638 g/ cm3|