Some Fascinating 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. With a diameter of approximately 49,500 kilometers in diameter Neptune 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.
Neptune was observed by the astronomers from ancient times including Galileo. Nonetheless, Galileo didn’t comprehend he was seeing a planet. In early times, we didn’t have telescopes that were sufficiently powerful to assist the astronomers and researchers identify planets. Therefore, when they saw Neptune, the astronomers did not observe the disc shape of the planet.
The astronomers and researchers discovered this planet through mathematical calculations. In 1843, a mathematician and astronomer in Britain was crucial in calculating the exact location of Neptune. By using the calculations, the astronomer, determined that Neptune was one billion miles 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. Since their calculations were instrumental its discovery, it was attributed to the French and British astronomers.
Neptune got its name after the Roman god of the sea because of its blue appearance. 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. 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 researchers have found thirteen moons that revolve around Neptune till today. It’s quite possible that you will find far more moons that are yet to be found.
The Voyager 2 was the first spaceship to reach Neptune, and it did so in 1989. It took images of the planet which helped the researchers in discovering that the planet has five rings. These rings are; LeVerrier, Galle, Lassel, Adams, and Arago. People today believe these rings formed one planet when one of those moons of Neptune got near and broke into countless particles because of the gravity at Neptune.