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 a few of the interesting 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, an astronomer and mathematician in Britain was key in calculating the location of Neptune. Based on the calculations, the astronomer estimated that Neptune had been one billion kilometers 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.
This planet is made up of nickel, iron and other silicates. The mantle of Neptune mainly consist of methane, water, ammonia and other chemical compounds. With temperatures that range from 3000 to 5000K, Neptune’s mantle is very hot. The atmosphere includes 80% hydrogen, 19 percent of helium and 1 percent of ammonia, water and methane.
The blue color which characterizes this planet is due to the presence of methane in its atmosphere. It absorbs the red light that comes from the sunlight then reflects it in the color blue in space.
Astronomers and investigators have discovered thirteen moons which revolve around Neptune till now. There is a high possibility that you will find far more moons which are yet to be found.
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; Adams, Galle, LeVerrier, Lassel, and Arago. Folks believe that these rings formed a single planet after one of those Neptune moons got near and divided into countless particles as a result of the gravity in Neptune.
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