Neptune is the eighth planet in our Solar System. It is positioned between Uranus and Pluto, and is sometimes referred to as the Blue Giant. The planet is nearly 49,500 kilometers in diameter, making it almost 4 times the size of the planet, Earth. Also, Neptune is located around 4.4 billion kilometers from Earth, and therefore, it is not visible to naked eyes. Even using binoculars, you won’t have the ability to observe the planet clearly.
Here are some fascinating facts about Neptune:
• Neptune was observed by several astronomers from early times. Even the great Galileo observed Neptune, but did not realize that he was looking at a world. In ancient times, the telescopes weren’t potent enough to help the researchers and astronomers discern planets. So when Neptune was seen, the astronomers couldn’t find the disc shape of Earth.
• The planet was detected through mathematical calculations. In the year 1843, a mathematician and astronomer from Britain was instrumental in calculating where Neptune was located. In accordance with the calculations, it was estimated that Neptune was one billion miles further from Sun compared to Uranus.
• Another French astronomer was interested in Neptune and was calculating its position. He also has the same results as the British astronomer.
• The discovery of Neptune is credited to the British astronomer in addition to the French astronomer.
• The core of the planet consists of iron, nickel and other silicates. While the mantle of Neptune is made up of water, methane, ammonia and other chemical compounds. The mantle of Earth is
very hot with temperature ranging from 3000 K to 5000 K.
• The atmosphere of Neptune is made up of 80 percent hydrogen, 19 percent helium, and one percent of ammonia, water and methane.
• The world gets its characteristic blue colour because methane within its atmosphere absorbs the red light from the sun and then reflects it as blue into space.
• Until today, researchers and astronomers have discovered thirteen moons revolving around Neptune. It’s quite possible that there are still more moons waiting to be found.
• Voyager 2 was the first spaceship to reach Neptune from the year 1989. It took pictures of the world and through these images, researchers discovered that the planet has five rings. These rings are known as Galle, LeVerrier, Lassell, Arago and Adams. It’s thought that the rings formed when one of planet’s moons got too close and broke up into countless particles as a result of Neptune’s gravity.