Neptune is the only planet in the Solar System that cannot be seen with the naked eye. It is the fourth-largest planet in diameter in the Solar System and is the third-most massive planet. It is also the densest planet in the universe and is about 17 times the total mass of planet Earth. The planet was discovered in 1846, and since then, it completed its orbit around the Sun in 2011. There has only been one spacecraft that has visited Neptune, but it flew past the planet in 1989 on its way out of the Solar System. The following are interesting facts about Neptune.
1. It was the last discovered planet in the Solar System
Neptune was discovered in 1846, 50 years after Uranus was discovered. This planet was discovered by a French scientist who was also a mathematician. Therefore, it makes Neptune the first planet to be discovered mathematically. Le Verrier predicted the almost exact location of Neptune after Uranus was discovered to have some irregularities with gravity that showed that there could be a planet next to it. Though Pluto was discovered years later after Neptune, It was later degraded to a dwarf planet due to its small size.
2. It is the farthest planet from the Sun
Neptune is believed to be about 5 billion kilometers from the Sun. It is the most distant planet in the Solar System. Neptune is about 30 times as far from the Sun as the Earth. The closest planet to Neptune is Uranus, about 11 astronomical units far from the Sun.
3. Neptune takes about 90 000 Earth days to revolve around the Sun
Neptune has an orbit 30 times longer than Earth since it is the farthest planet from the Sun. It takes 165 years to revolve around the Sun; however, the days in Neptune are shorter than Earth, 16 hours. The orbital velocity Neptune is almost five times slower than that of Earth.
4. You could weigh a lot more in Neptune than your normal weight on Earth
Neptune’s gravity is about 15 times stronger than that of the Earth. Its gravitational force is the second largest in the Solar System (11.15 m/s), following Jupiter’s (25m/s).
5. Neptune is about 3 billion miles from the Earth
The distance between Earth and Neptune is constantly changing. It is because both planets keep moving through the solar system. The distance between the two planets is 2.7 million miles at its lowest while 2.9 million miles at its highest. Light from the Earth would need up to four hours to get to Neptune.
6. Neptune gets its name from the Roman sea god
Before Neptune was discovered and named, various names were suggested for a new planet. Names like ‘Le Verrier’ and ‘Le Verrier’s planet’ were suggested when it was revealed. These were the names of the man who discovered Neptune. However, it was named after the sea god ‘Neptune.’
7. The planet has no solid Surface
Neptune has no definite surface layer. It only has gas, partly water, and ice. The blue color visible when it is observed is not its surface but the planet’s clouds.
8. Neptune has a wind speed of more than 1300 miles per Hour
There are powerful winds on Neptune that make life difficult on the planet. The fearsome winds result from the very hot interior of the planet bombarding with the vast coldness of space.
9. Triton, Neptune’s moon, is the only large moon with a Retrograde Orbit
Triton orbits Neptune in the opposite direction as the plane. It is a Retrograde Orbit. The orbit of Triton around Neptune is almost a perfect circle. Its eccentricity is almost 0.000016, while that of the Earth’s moon is 0.0549.
10. Neptune is one of the Coldest places in the Solar system
Though Neptune is the coldest planet in the Solar System, its moon, Triton, is colder. The temperatures can go as low as -240 degrees Celsius. Triton is covered with geysers that spew nitrogen gas into the air.
11. Neptune has more than four moons
The planet has moons like Triton, Naiad, Nereid, and Proteus. All these moons are named after Greek sea gods. Since Neptune got its name from the Roman sea god, it was considered sensible to derive the names of its moons from other sea gods.
12. At times, Neptune’s orbit is further from the Sun than Pluto’s
Since Pluto is considered a dwarf planet, it is in the outermost part of the Solar System. Neptune has also held the 9th position from the Sun since its orbit has moved farther away from the Sun than Pluto. It occurred in 1979 and 1999.
13. Neptune has had a big storm in the past that was enough to cover planet earth
sIn 1989, Neptune was ravaged by a big storm that was large enough to cover the Earth’s entire surface. The storm was given the name Great Dark Spot. It was gone by 1994, but another mighty storm appeared several years later.
14. Neptune has an internal source of heat that is unknown
Neptune receives only 0.1% of solar energy from the Sun since it is 30 astronomical units from the Sun. It is approximately 1 Astronomical unit distance between the Earth and the Sun. Neptune, however, radiates about 2.6 times more energy than it receives from the Sun. The planet has its source of heat. However, it is not known where the heat is generated from.
15. Triton is the only of Neptune’s moon that is spherically shaped
All other moons of Neptune are irregularly shaped, according to the survey. Triton is the only moon in Neptune that has a spherical shape. Other moons are too small for their surface; hence they cannot collapse into a spheroid. Triton is, therefore, a unique moon. This moon was named after the son of Poseidon or Neptune and is the coldest place in the solar system.