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Neptune

Neptune

Neptune is the outermost planet of the Solar System, the smallest of the giant planets

Geography

Keywords

Neptune, rings of Neptune, Solar System, outer planet, gas giant, Proteus, Triton, Nereid, Sun, planet, moon, astronomy, geography

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Neptune is one of the outer planets, the outermost of the Solar System. It is 30 times farther from the Sun than the Earth, on a nearly circular orbit. It is the smallest of the gas giants, very similar to Uranus.
Its density is higher than that of other gas giants' (1.64 g/cm³ or 0.059 lb/in³). Its orbital period is 164.79 years, it has completed 1 orbit since its discovery. Its surface is bright blue, with cloudy white spots of methane.

Data:

Diameter: 49,532 km (30,780 mi or 3.89 Earths)

Mass: 1.02×10²⁶ kg (2.25×10²⁶ lb or 17.1 Earths)

Average density: 1.64 g/cm³ (0.059 lb/in³)

Surface gravity: 1.125 g

Surface temperature: -201 °C (-330 °F)

Number of moons: 14

Rotation period: 16 h 5 m

Axial tilt: 28.32°

Average distance from the Sun:
4,495,060,000 km = 2,793,000,000 mi = 30.05 AU = 4.17 light hours

Orbital eccentricity: 0.0113

Orbital period: 164.79 years

Proteus:

Average distance from the Neptune:
117,600 km (73,070 mi)

Diameter: 416 km (258.5 mi)

Triton:

Average distance from the Neptune:
354,760 km (220,400 mi)

Diameter: 2,706 km (1681 mi)

Mass: 2.14×10²² kg (4.72×10²² lb)

Nereid:

Average distance from the Neptune:
5,513,400 km (3,426,000 mi)

Diameter: 340 km (211 mi)

  • average distance from the Sun: 4,495,060,000 km (2,793,000,000 mi)

Narration

Neptune was discovered by Johann Galle in 1846, based on the calculations of Urbain Le Verrier after analysing perturbations in the orbit of Uranus. Independently of Le Verrier, John Couch Adams developed his own calculations, but these were only published later. Neptune was named after one of the oldest of the Roman gods. In the provinces, he was identified with the local god of water and the sea. He is the equivalent of the Greek god Poseidon. So far, Neptune has been visited by only one spacecraft, Voyager 2, which flew by the planet on August 25, 1989.

Neptune is one of the outer planets, the outermost in the solar system. It is 30 times farther from the Sun than the Earth is, on a near-circular orbit. It is the smallest of the gas giants (a Jovian planet), very similar to Uranus. Its density is greater than that of the other gas giants (1.64 g/cm³ or 0.059 lb/in³).

Its orbital period is 164.79 years, so it has only completed one orbit since its discovery.

Its surface is bright blue, with cloudy white spots of methane. Its colour comes from the 2% methane content of the atmosphere, which absorbs red light and reflects blue. Several dark spots, storms, can be seen on the surface, which move more slowly than the rest of the atmosphere. The Great Dark Spot is one of these storms; it measures 10,000 km (6,214 mi) across. Some of the cloud formations only exist for a few minutes. They rise from the warmer layers of the atmosphere; then they freeze and fall back. The winds are strong, and their direction of flow varies.

The magnetic field of Neptune is as strong as the Earth's. Tilted 47° from the axis of rotation, the magnetic axis does not go through the center of the planet.

Neptune has a planetary ring system. The thickness of the rings, which are composed of rock and dust particles, varies. Small moons orbit Neptune between the rings; six of those have a diameter of over 100 km (62 mi).

The largest moon is Triton, with a diameter of 2,706 km (1,681 mi). It has a nearly circular, retrograde orbit with an orbital period of six days. Its surface features dark bands with geysers. It was discovered in 1846, together with Neptune.

Nereid has a very large, very eccentric orbit, with an orbital period of almost 1 year. These two moons are probably captured asteroids.

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