History of Neptune (Interesting Facts And Information)

The History Of Neptune

history of Neptune planet

Neptune, the final known gas planet, was named after the Roman “god of the Sea,” although the Greek equivalent is “Poseidon.” Because the planet cannot be seen with a basic telescope, it was identified by monitoring the effects of its gravitational pull on Uranus.

Neptune is the eighth planet in the solar system, and the first astronomer to determine its location was an Englishman named John C. Adams. Adams submitted data to the Astronomer Royal of England in 1845 after carefully calculating the planet’s position. However, astronomers at the time dismissed his estimates. Urbain J.J. Le Verrier performed identical calculations in 1846 and transmitted his results to Johann G. Galle of the Berlin Observatory, who was able to establish Neptune’s exact position.

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The Orbit Of Neptune

Neptune’s orbit around the Sun takes around 165 Earth years. This orbit is oval in form, with a perihelion of 2.77 billion miles (4.46 billion km) from the Sun and an aphelion of 2.82 billion miles (4.54 billion km).

It is 2.8 billion miles (4.5 billion kilometers) from the Sun on average. Neptune’s day lasts around 16 hours and 7 minutes, and the planet is inclined 28 degrees on its axis.

Expeditions To Neptune

The Voyager 2 spacecraft has only made one voyage to Neptune. This trip was successful in delivering information concerning six of Neptune’s moons as well as discovering a ring system around the planet.

The Voyager 2 mission was also notable for measuring Neptune’s diameter and photographing its magnetic field. In 1989, Earth got photographs from the Neptune mission.

Exploring A Day On Neptune

Because Neptune is a gas planet, a day would last 16 hours and 7 minutes. It has a diameter of 30,775 miles and is made mostly of hydrogen and helium, much like the other gas planets. Neptune is similarly made up of less water, methane, and silicates. Hydrogen has the largest concentration of gases in the atmosphere.

Neptune has an average temperature of -313 degrees Fahrenheit, however, it is not the coldest planet in the Solar System. Neptune has seasons because of a tilt in its axis.

The surface of Neptune is surrounded by a dense cloud cover. Clouds travel at 700 miles per hour through this dense layer. The blue clouds observed at the edges of Neptune’s atmosphere are made mostly of frozen methane. Darker clouds, closer to Neptune’s “surface,” are thought to contain hydrogen sulfide.

The rates at which these clouds move indicate that Neptune has a huge, dynamic wind system. This dynamic wind system may be seen in Neptune’s Great Dark Spot (GDS). The Great Dark Spot’s swirling hurricane-like winds were originally seen by Voyager 2 in 1989. When the Hubble Telescope saw Neptune in 1994, the Great Dark Spot vanished. The Great Dark Spot has the same diameter as the planet Earth.

Neptune, like the other gas planets, does not have a solid surface. The planet’s core is thought to contain molten rock surrounded by a liquid layer of hydrogen and helium, as well as frozen methane and ammonia. The liquid layer is subsequently replaced with a compressed gas layer composed mostly of hydrogen and helium.

Neptune’s ring system consists of five identified rings: two very visible rings and three lighter rings. Neptune’s primary rings are named after the scientists who discovered the planet. At 62,930 kilometers from Neptune, the outermost ring is called Adams, followed by Arago, Lassell, Le Verrier, and Galle at 41,900 kilometers. It is thought that, like Neptune’s rings, it is made up of dust and debris.

Adams, the outermost ring, also has a sequence of ring arcs, which indicate partially formed rings. The arcs of the rings are known as Fraternité, Courage, Liberté, Egalité 1, and Egalité 2. The biggest ring arc is around 6,000 miles long, while the smallest is approximately 600 miles long.

There is little known about this planet, and no life has been discovered there.

The Satellites Of Neptune

Neptune is connected with 13 natural satellites. Triton, Nereid, and Proteus are the names of the three primary satellites.

  • Triton

Triton (Neptune I) is widely known as a huge satellite that spins around Neptune in a retrograde pattern as a natural satellite of Neptune. It is also the Solar System’s only known satellite to circle a planet in this manner. It has a sphere-shaped surface made of water ice and rocky material, with a major amount of its surface made up of rocky material rather than water ice. The active volcanoes and geysers on Triton’s surface are another intriguing characteristic. Variable volumes of liquid nitrogen or methane gas are released into the atmosphere by these volcanoes and geysers. There are also craters on Triton’s surface, indicating multiple impacts with this satellite.

This satellite was named after Neptune’s son. On October 10, 1846, it was found. Triton has a diameter of 1,352 kilometers and is 354,800 kilometers from Neptune. It takes -5.8 Earth days to circle Neptune.

  • Nereid

This is Neptune’s second satellite. It has an eccentric orbit with a range of 1.3 million to 9.6 million kilometers. Nereid’s orbit is the most erratic of any known satellite. Nereid reflects 12% of the sunlight that strikes it. Every 360 Earth days, it circles Neptune. Gerard Kuiper found Nereid in 1949, and it has a diameter of 340 kilometers.

  • Proteus

Proteus is Neptune’s eighth moon and the darkest of the planet’s satellites. Proteus’ surface is extremely similar to that of Earth’s moon. It is chilly, cratered, and made of stony stuff. Voyager 2 found it in 1989. Every Earth day, Proteus circles Neptune once.

The following is a complete list of Neptune’s satellites, along with the year they were discovered:

NaiadIII29?48,000Voyager 21989
ThalassaIV40?50,000Voyager 21989
DespinaV74?52,500Voyager 21989
GalateaVI79?62,000Voyager 21989
LarissaVII104×89?73,600Voyager 21989
ProteusVIII200?117,600Voyager 21989
TritonI1,3502.14e+22354,800W. Lassell1846
NereidII170?5,513,400G. Kuiper1949

Table 1: Concise statistics on the planet Jupiter (N.A.S.A. 2006)

Statistics About Neptune

Discovered ByJohann Galle
Date of Discovery1846
Average Distance from the SunMetric: 4,498,252,900 km
English: 2,795,084,800 miles
Scientific Notation: 4.4982529 x 109 km (30.069 A.U.)
By Comparison: 30.069 x Earth
Perihelion (closest)Metric: 4,459,630,000 km
English: 2,771,087,000 miles
Scientific Notation: 4.45963 x 109 km (29.811 A.U.)
By Comparison: 29.820 x Earth
Aphelion (farthest)Metric: 4,536,870,000 km
English: 2,819,080,000 miles
Scientific Notation: 4.53687 x 109 km (30.327 A.U.)
By Comparison: 30.326 x Earth
Equatorial RadiusMetric: 24,764 km
English: 15,388 miles
Scientific Notation: 2.4764 x 105 km
By Comparison: 3.883 x Earth
Equatorial CircumferenceMetric: 155,597 km
English: 96,683 miles
Scientific Notation: 1.55597 x 105 km
VolumeMetric: 62,526,000,000,000 km3
Scientific Notation: 6.2526 x 1013 km3
By Comparison: 57.7 x Earth’s
MassMetric: 102,440,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 kg
Scientific Notation: 1.0244 x 1026 kg
By Comparison: 17.147 x Earth’s
DensityMetric: 1.76 g/cm3
By Comparison: 0.317 x Earth
Surface AreaMetric: 7,640,800,000 km2
English: 2,950,100,000 square miles
Scientific Notation: 7.6408 x 109 km2
By Comparison: 14.980 x Earth
Equatorial Surface GravityMetric: 10.71 m/s2
English: 35.14 ft/s2
By Comparison: If you weigh 100 pounds on Earth, you would weigh 110 pounds on Neptune.
Escape VelocityMetric: 85,356 km/h
English: 53,038 mph
Scientific Notation: 23,710 m/s
By Comparison: Escape velocity of Earth is 25,022 mph.
Sidereal Rotation Period (Length of Day)0.67125 Earth days
16.11 hours
By Comparison: 0.673 x Earth
Sidereal Orbit Period (Length of Year)164.79 Earth years
60,190 Earth days
Mean Orbit VelocityMetric: 19,720 km/h
English: 12,253 mph
Scientific Notation: 5,477.8 m/s
By Comparison: 0.490 x Earth
Orbital Eccentricity.00859
By Comparison: 0.514 x Earth
Orbital Inclination to Ecliptic1.769 degrees
Equatorial Inclination to Orbit29.58 degrees
By Comparison: 1.261 x Earth
Orbital CircumferenceMetric: 28,142,000,000 km
English: 17,487,000,000 miles
Scientific Notation: 2.8142 x 1010 km
By Comparison: 30.44 x Earth
Effective TemperatureMetric: -214 °C
English: -353 °F
Scientific Notation: 59 K
Atmospheric ConstituentsHydrogen, Helium, Methane
Scientific Notation: H2, He, CH4
By Comparison: Earth’s atmosphere consists mostly of N2 and O2.
Table 2: Concise statistics on the planet Neptune (N.A.S.A. 2006)


Encyclopedia Britannica. “Neptune.” 2006. Encyclopedia Britannica Premium Service. 2006 http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-54304

Smith, Bradford A. “Neptune.” World Book Online Reference Center. 2004. World Book, Inc. http://www.worldbookonline.com/wb/Article?id=ar386900

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (N.A.S.A).“Neptune: Facts & Figures” 2006.

Solar Views. “Neptune.” 2001 http://www.solarviews.com/eng/neptune.htm

Space Today Online. “Exploring The Neptune System.” 2004.

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