Last updated on May 3rd, 2019
Neptune is a dark and a cold planet. It is among the eight planets in the solar system. Neptune has some features and characteristics that set it apart from the other planets. With these 30 facts about Neptune, let us learn more about it.
1. Location: Neptune is the eight and the farthest planet from the sun. However, in 1930, after the discovery of Pluto, the title of the most distance planet from the Sun was snatched from Neptune and was given to Pluto. However, once again, in 2006, when Pluto was re-classified as a dwarf planet, Neptune became the most distant planet from the Sun. (Order of the planets from the sun: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto (the dwarf planet).
2. Ice or Gas? Neptune is the smallest of the ice giants. Uranus is the other ice giant.
3. Discovery: Neptune was not known to the ancients, and until 1846, its position was determined with the help of mathematical predictions. Galileo had predicted the presence of a star in his drawings however he did not conclude that it was actually a planet.
4. Sighting the planet in the sky: Neptune cannot be seen in the sky with the naked eye because of its extreme distance from the Earth.
5. Around the Sun: Neptune takes 165 Earth years to complete its orbit around the sun.
6. Pluto vs Neptune: during the time Neptune makes three orbits around the Sun, Pluto makes two.
7. Magnetic field: Neptune’s magnetic field is 27 times more powerful than that of the Earth.
8. Which color? the characteristic color of Neptune is blue which is due to the presence of Methane on the planet. Uranus, on the other hand, is greenish-blue.
9. How many rings? Neptune has 6 known rings. These rings were confirmed by Voyager 2 in 1989. However, these rings vary in thicknesses and are supposed to be short-lived and relatively young.
10. Moons are many: Neptune has thirteen (13) officially confirmed moons and one unconfirmed moon.
11. Neptune’s biggest moon: Triton, Neptune’s biggest moon, revolves in an opposite direction to that of Neptune’s other moons. It is the only large moon in the solar system that has a retrograde orbit.
12. Today’s moon, Tomorrow’s ring: Triton is slowly spiraling inward towards the planet. It is estimated that Triton, after a few billion years, will eventually be torn apart by the planet’s gravitational force and a ring will be formed as a result.
13. No solid surface: because Neptune is a gas giant, there is no solid surface on Neptune for a spacecraft to land on the planet.
14. Diameter and Mass: Neptune is the fourth largest planet in terms of diameter and third largest in terms of mass.
15. Naming the planet: Neptune is named after the Roman god of the Sea because of its bluish appearance.
16. Change of name: Neptune was initially called “Le Verrier” after the name of the scientist – Jean Joseph Le Verrier – who discovered it. However, this name of the planet was abandoned and it was finally named Neptune.
17. Neptune vs Jupiter: did you know that Neptune has the second largest gravitational force in the solar system after Jupiter?
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