Neptune

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Neptune : the planet eighth in order from the sun — Webster

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Neptune is the eighth and farthest known planet from the Sun in the Solar System. In the Solar System, it is the fourth-largest planet by diameter, the third-most-massive planet, and the densest giant planet. Neptune is 17 times the mass of Earth and is slightly more massive than its near-twin Uranus, which is 15 times the mass of Earth and slightly larger than Neptune. Neptune orbits the Sun once every 164.8 years at an average distance of 30.1 astronomical units (4.50×109 km). It is named after the Roman god of the sea and has the astronomical symbol ♆, a stylised version of the god Neptune’s trident.

Neptune is not visible to the unaided eye and is the only planet in the Solar System found by mathematical prediction rather than by empirical observation. Unexpected changes in the orbit of Uranus led Alexis Bouvard to deduce that its orbit was subject to gravitational perturbation by an unknown planet. Neptune was subsequently observed with a telescope on 23 September 1846 by Johann Galle within a degree of the position predicted by Urbain Le Verrier. Its largest moon, Triton, was discovered shortly thereafter, though none of the planet’s remaining known 14 moons were located telescopically until the 20th century. The planet’s distance from Earth gives it a very small apparent size, making it challenging to study with Earth-based telescopes. Neptune was visited by Voyager 2, when it flew by the planet on 25 August 1989. The advent of the Hubble Space Telescope and large ground-based telescopes with adaptive optics has recently allowed for additional detailed observations from afar.

Neptune’s composition can be compared and contrasted with the Solar System’s other giant planets. Like Jupiter and Saturn, Neptune’s atmosphere is composed primarily of hydrogen and helium, along with traces of hydrocarbons and possibly nitrogen, but it contains a higher proportion of “ices” such as water, ammonia, and methane. However, its interior, like that of Uranus, is primarily composed of ices and rock, which is why Uranus and Neptune are normally considered “ice giants” to emphasise this distinction. Traces of methane in the outermost regions in part account for the planet’s blue appearance.

In contrast to the hazy, relatively featureless atmosphere of Uranus, Neptune’s atmosphere has active and visible weather patterns. For example, at the time of the Voyager 2 flyby in 1989, the planet’s southern hemisphere had a Great Dark Spot comparable to the Great Red Spot on Jupiter. These weather patterns are driven by the strongest sustained winds of any planet in the Solar System, with recorded wind speeds as high as 2,100 kilometres per hour (580 m/s; 1,300 mph). Because of its great distance from the Sun, Neptune’s outer atmosphere is one of the coldest places in the Solar System, with temperatures at its cloud tops approaching 55 K (−218 °C). Temperatures at the planet’s center are approximately 5,400 K (5,100 °C). Neptune has a faint and fragmented ring system (labelled “arcs”), which was first detected during the 1960s and confirmed by Voyager 2. — Wikipedia

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Neptune News -- ScienceDaily Planet Neptune News. Read astronomy articles on Neptune's oddball moon Triton. See images of Neptune and more.

  • Evidence of superionic ice provides new insights...
    on October 14, 2021 at 5:12 pm

    Not all ice is the same. The solid form of water comes in more than a dozen different - sometimes more, sometimes less crystalline - structures, depending on the conditions of pressure and temperature in the environment. Superionic ice is a special crystalline form, half solid, half liquid - and electrically conductive. Its existence has been predicted on the basis of various models and has already been observed on several occasions under - very extreme - laboratory conditions. New results […]

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    on June 9, 2021 at 12:46 pm

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    on May 26, 2021 at 10:59 pm

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Phys.org - latest science and technology news stories Phys.org internet news portal provides the latest news on science including: Physics, Nanotechnology, Life Sciences, Space Science, Earth Science, Environment, Health and Medicine.

  • Astronomers discover twin sub-Neptune exoplanets...
    on October 20, 2021 at 1:10 pm

    By analyzing the data from the TESS-Keck Survey (TKS), an international team of astronomers reports the detection of two almost identically sized sub-Neptune exoplanets orbiting a nearby star. The newly found alien worlds, designated HD 63935 b and HD 63935 c, are about three times larger than the Earth. The finding is detailed in a paper published October 13 on the arXiv pre-print server.

  • Studying the edge of the sun's magnetic bubble
    on October 20, 2021 at 12:56 pm

    Our corner of the universe, the solar system, is nestled inside the Milky Way galaxy, home to more than 100 billion stars. The solar system is encased in a bubble called the heliosphere, which separates us from the vast galaxy beyond—and some of its harsh space radiation.

  • Did Titan give Saturn its tilt?
    on October 18, 2021 at 1:16 pm

    Giant planets like Saturn don't just tilt over all by themselves; something has to knock them over, or tug on them gravitationally, to push them off axis. Scientists expect that when new planets are born, they form with almost no tilt at all, lining up like spinning tops with their equators level to the orbital plane in which they circle around their sun.

  • Evidence of superionic ice provides new insights...
    on October 14, 2021 at 6:07 pm

    Not all ice is the same. The solid form of water comes in more than a dozen different—sometimes more, sometimes less crystalline—structures, depending on the conditions of pressure and temperature in the environment. Superionic ice is a special crystalline form—half solid, half liquid—and electrically conductive. Its existence has been predicted on the basis of various models and has already been observed on several occasions under extreme laboratory conditions. However, the exact […]

  • To watch a comet form, a spacecraft could tag...
    on October 13, 2021 at 12:46 pm

    Deep in the solar system, between Jupiter and Neptune, lurk thousands of small chunks of ice and rock. Occasionally, one of them will bump into Jupiter's orbit, get caught and flung into the inner solar system—towards the sun, and us.