Neptune is an incredibly captivating world. As it stands it is, there’s a lot that isn’t known about it. Maybe it’s because Neptune is the furthest planet to our Sun or that only a handful of exploration missions have ventured that far in our Solar System. However, whatever reasons, Neptune is a gas (and the ice) giant, filled with excitement! Find out interesting facts about Neptune below!!
Planet Neptune is named for Neptune, the Roman god who was the ocean’s protector. According to Greek mythology, he’s called Poseidon. The planet probably got the name because of its blue-coloured appearance.
Below, we’ve compiled an interesting list of 10 facts about Neptune planet. A few of them, you’ve probably heard of. However, others will be awe-inspiring and perhaps even amaze you. Enjoy!
Interesting Facts About Neptune
1. Neptune is the Most Distant Planet:
It may seem like a fairly straightforward statement. However, it’s quite complex. When it was first discovered In 1846, Neptune became the world’s most far-off planet within the Solar System. However, in 1930 Pluto came to light, and Neptune was renamed the second-tallest distant planet. However, Pluto’s orbit is irregular, and there are instances where Pluto has a closer orbit towards its Sun compared to Neptune. The last time that this occurred was in 1979 and ran until 1999. At that time, Neptune was again the most distant planet.
2. Neptune is the Smallest of the Gas Giants:
With an equatorial diameter of only 24,764 kilometres, Neptune can be smaller than the other gas giants of the Solar System: Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus. But here’s the interesting thing: Neptune is larger than Uranus by around 18 per cent. Because it’s less large, Neptune has a much larger density than Uranus. At 1.638 grams per cubic centimetre, Neptune is the densest gas gigantic within the Solar System.
3. Neptune’s Surface Gravity is Almost Earth-like:
Neptune is an enormous ball of ice and gas, possibly with a rocky centre. It’s impossible to sit at the top of Neptune without sinking. If you were able to sit on the surface of Neptune and look up, you’d see something remarkable. Gravity’s force that pulls you down is virtually similar to the force of gravity that you feel when walking on Earth.
4. The Discovery of Neptune is Still a Controversy:
The first person who witnessed Neptune was most likely Galileo, who identified it as a star on some of his sketches. But, Galileo did not recognize the planet as such and was not the one who is credited for the discovery. The credit is given to French mathematician Urbain Le Verrier and English mathematician John Couch Adams, both of whom predicted that a brand new planet, known as Planet X – would be found in a specific area in the night sky.
5. Neptune has the Strongest Winds in the Solar System:
Do you think a hurricane is frightening? Imagine a storm with speeds that reach 2,100 km/hour. As you could envision, the scientists have been baffled as to why a cold and icy planet like Neptune can get its cloud tops moving so quickly. One possibility is that cold temperatures and the movement of gasses and fluids in the atmosphere of Neptune could reduce friction to the point where it is easy to create rapid winds.
6. Neptune is the Coldest Planet in the Solar System:
At the peak of the clouds, temperatures on Neptune could drop as low as 51.7 Kelvin, or -221.45 degrees Celsius (-366.6 deg F). It’s three times the lowest temperature recorded on Earth (-89.2degC / the temperature is -129degF). This means that a naked human being could into a complete freeze in just a few seconds! Pluto is getting colder, with temperatures as low as 33K (-240 degC/-400 degrees Fahrenheit). But then again, Pluto isn’t a planet ever again (remember?)
7. Neptune has Rings:
When we think of ring systems, Saturn is the most common planet that pops up in their minds. However, would it be surprising to find out that Neptune has a ring system too? However, it’s difficult to discern when compared to Saturn’s vibrant and bold ring. This is the reason why it isn’t widely known. In all, Neptune contains five rings. All of them are named for scientists who have made significant discoveries regarding Neptune, which included Galle, Le Verrier, Lassell, Arago, and Adams.
8. Neptune Probably Captured its Largest Moon, Triton:
The largest moon of Neptune, Triton, circles Neptune in the direction of a retrograde orbit. This means it revolves around the planet reversed about the moons of Neptune’s other moons. This is believed to be evidence that Neptune may have taken Triton as well – i.e. the moon did not form as it did as the other Neptune’s moons. Triton is stuck in a synchronous rotation with Neptune and is gradually moving towards Neptune’s orbit.
9. Neptune has Only Been Visited up Close Once:
The sole spacecraft that has ever been to Neptune is NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft, which visited the planet as part of its Grand Tour of the Solar System. Voyager 2 completed the Neptune flyby on the 25th of August 1989, circling within 3,000 kilometres of the north pole of Neptune. It was the closest approach to any object Voyager 2 made since it was launched from Earth.
10. There are no Plans to Visit Neptune Again:
Voyager 2’s incredible photos of Neptune may be the only images we’ll ever see since there aren’t any specific plans to go back to Neptune. Neptune system. But, a potential Flagship Mission has been envisioned by NASA to be launched around the end of the 2020s or the early 2030s. For example, in 2003, NASA announced tentative plans to send a new Cassini-Huygens-style mission to Neptune, called the Neptune Orbiter.
Other Fun Neptune Facts For Kids!!
- Neptune is the most distant planet from the Sun, with 3 billion kilometres. 4.5 billion kilometres or 2.8 billion miles.
- Neptune is the fourth-largest planet of the Solar System and the smallest of the gas giants.
- Each Neptune and Uranus are known as giants of ice because they have distinct compositions from Saturn or Jupiter.
- Neptune has an area of 24.764 km/ 15.387 miles and an area of 49.244 km or 30.598 miles.
- The inner core of Neptune is around 1.5 times larger than Earth.
- The speed of the wind of Neptune can be among the most rapid observed in the Solar System. Some of them could reach 2.160 km/ 1.324 miles per hour. Five times more powerful than winds that are the highest on Earth.
- The average temperature of Neptune’s surface is approximately -214 degrees Celsius (or -353°F).
- Neptune is the only planet with six ring systems that surround it. Some contain rings arcs or clusters made composed of particles.
- Neptune includes 14 moons. The biggest moon in Neptune is Triton. It is the seventh-largest moon found on any planet. Many believe that the moon is an undiscovered dwarf planet.
- The colour of Neptune is believed to be influenced by the presence of methane in the environment, but there’s a nebulous reason for this.
- Neptune was the planet first discovered using mathematical calculations and forecasts.
- Uranus is Neptune’s close identical twin in size and composition.
- Neptune is a magnet with a strong magnetic field. It’s 27 times larger than Earth’s.
- Neptune formed about 4.5 billion years ago. However, many believe there was a closer connection to Sun at the time than it is today and that the planet was beginning to fade away.
These are only a few of the many things that make Neptune such an interesting planet and one which is worth studying. Hopefully, you enjoyed exploring these facts about Neptune!!
We can only dream that further mission launches will take place into the outer regions of the Solar System that will be better equipped to unravel the mysteries of Neptune.