Neptune is the planet farthest from the sun and one of the two “ice giants” in the solar system solar system. The cold, blue planet is about 30 times farther from the sun than Earth and takes about 165 Earth years to complete one orbit around our star. Neptune rotates on its axis faster than Earth, so a day on Neptune is only about 16 Earth hours.
When was Neptune discovered?
Scientists discovered Neptune in 1846, after they performed orbital calculations for Uranus that showed an unidentified planet affecting Uranus. Gravitationaccording to Museum of Natural History (opens in a new tab) in London, UK, Neptune is not visible to the naked eye, but researchers were able to confirm its existence with telescopes. According to NASA (opens in a new tab).
Only one Earth probe has ever reached Neptune – the Traveler 2, which captured the first images of the blue planet in 1989 on its way out of the solar system. According to Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum (opens in a new tab) in Washington DC The name Neptune comes from the Roman god of the sea of the same name, according to Cool Cosmos (opens in a new tab)a website operated by the Center for Infrared Processing and Analysis at the California Institute of Technology.
Related: Mercury probe captures stunning pictures of our planet as Earth flies by
How long does it take to get to Neptune?
Neptune is the eighth planet from the sun and the last in the solar system, since scientists demoted Pluto from full planet to dwarf planet in 2006. Neptune is also the furthest planet in the Solar System from Earth and orbits at a distance between 2.7 billion miles (4.3 billion km) and 2.9 billion miles (4.7 billion km). from our planet, depending on where the two planets are in their orbits, Live Science’s sister site Space.com previously reported. According to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (opens in a new tab). However, the probe is moving at an average speed of 42,000 mph (about 68,000 km/h) – much faster than humans have ever traveled.
How cold is Neptune?
The temperature in Neptune’s atmosphere is around minus 373 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 225 degrees Celsius), according to the National Air and Space Museum. Farther from the sun than Uranus, you might expect Neptune to be colder, but the two planets have about the same temperature. Neptune emits more than twice as much heat as it absorbs from the sun, similar to Jupiter and Saturn, Live Science previously reported.
“Additional heat source on Neptune [and Jupiter and Saturn] largely due to gravity contracting,” says Joshua Tollefson, a data scientist formerly at the University of California, Berkeley. All About Space Magazine (opens in a new tab) in 2019. “As the planet slowly contracts under gravity, the matter falling inside will change potential energy into heat, which is then released from the planet. “
Neptune also has the strongest winds in the solar system, which can reach speeds of 1,200 mph (1,9301 km/h), according to Cool Cosmos. Seasons Neptune lasts about 40 years at a time, and the planet’s southern hemisphere is now within Earth’s equivalent of summer. However, a 2022 study published in Planetary Science Magazine (opens in a new tab) used infrared images of the planet to determine that despite entering the summer of 2005, Mercury’s global temperature did in fact drop by 14.4 F (8 C) between 2003 and 2018. The researcher speculates that The temperature drops sharply in Neptune’s atmosphere can be caused by an unknown factor, extreme weather or a change in solar radiation.
Lead author of the study Michael Roman, an astronomer at the University of Leicester in the UK, said: “I think Neptune itself is very intriguing to many of us because we still know it. too little about it. declare (opens in a new tab) at that time. “All of this points towards a more complex picture of Neptune’s atmosphere and how it has changed over time.”
Related: The sun blew away Mercury with a wave of plasma
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What is Neptune made of?
Neptune is mainly composed of water, ammonia and methane and may harbor a “super-hot” ocean beneath its frigid clouds, according to NASA. The planet does not have a solid surface, but has a solid core like the Earth. With Uranus, Neptune is known as the “ice giant.” The name that distinguishes Neptune from the “gas giants” of Jupiter and Saturn because Neptune and Uranus have more ice-forming molecules, according to Planetary society (opens in a new tab).
Neptune and Uranus are famous for “diamond rain. “This is possible because the high atmospheric pressure on these planets – more than 200,000 times that on Earth – breaks down atmospheric methane to release carbon. The carbon then groups together into long chains to form diamond-like crystal patterns. These “diamonds” sink in the mantle, where they are evaporated by more extreme conditions – the innermost regions of the mantles of these planets can touch about 12,140 F (6,727 C) with pressure 6 million times that of Earth – before emerging again. The process repeats itself, Live Science previously reported.
Neptune has a moon?
Neptune has 14 moons and at least five rings. Triton, Neptune’s largest moon, orbits in the opposite direction of the planet’s rotation. This reversed orbit indicates that Triton was not always paired with Neptune, and scientists think it was pulled in by Neptune’s gravity from the Kuiper Belt millions of years ago. NASA (opens in a new tab).
Nereid, another Neptune moon, has an even more bizarre orbit, making it one of the strangest moon in the solar system. This moon can fly close to Neptune at a distance of 870,000 miles (1.4 million km) and as far as 6 million miles (9.7 million km). One reason for this strange lunar orbit could be that when Triton was pulled towards Neptune, it flung out of the orbits of Neptune’s existing moons and sent most of them soaring. into space. However, Nereid may have been an early moon that latched onto Neptune’s gravity edge to shape its current orbit.
Related: Neptune’s oscillating moons are locked in a never-before-seen orbital dance
For an image of Neptune taken by the Voyager 2 probe, see NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (opens in a new tab) website. To learn more about the diamond rain on Neptune and Uranus, check out this short YouTube video by astrophysicist and Live Science contributor Paul M. Sutter (opens in a new tab). For a children’s book on Neptune, check out “Neptune’s Secret (opens in a new tab)” (Capstone Press, 2015).
Originally published on Live Science.
https://www.livescience.com/neptune Neptune: The farthest planet from our sun