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 in the event that you use the binoculars, you can’t see the planet nicely. Below we will discuss some of the compelling facts about Neptune.
The astronomers from early times detected Neptune including Galileo. But, Galileo didn’t understand he was seeing a planet. In ancient times, we did not have powerful telescopes to help the astronomers and researchers discern planets. Therefore, when they saw Neptune, the astronomers did not observe the disc 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. Another French astronomer did the calculations and got similar results to the British astronomer. Using the calculations developed by the French Astronomer, Johann C. Galle discovered Neptune in September 23, 1846. 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 is similar to the rest of the planets of the solar system that are named after Roman gods.
Iron, nickel and other silicates make up this planet. The mantle of Neptune mainly consist of methane, water, ammonia and other chemical compounds. Neptune’s mantle is quite hot with temperatures that range from 3000 to 5000K. The atmosphere includes 80% hydrogen, 19 percent of helium and 1 percent of ammonia, water and methane.
The presence of methane in the atmosphere results in the blue color which characterizes this planet. It absorbs the red light which comes from the sun and then reflects it in the color blue in space.
Astronomers and researchers have found thirteen moons that revolve around Neptune till today. It is possible that there are more moons which are yet to be discovered.
The first spaceship to reach Neptune was called the Voyager 2, and it did so in 1989. It took pictures of the planet and using these pictures, researchers found that the planet has five rings. These rings are; LeVerrier, Galle, Lassel, Adams, 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.