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.

  • Scientists discover new exoplanet with an...
    on June 9, 2021 at 12:46 pm

    Scientists have discovered a new, temperate sub-Neptune sized exoplanet with a 24-day orbital period orbiting a nearby M dwarf star. The recent discovery offers exciting research opportunities thanks to the planet's substantial atmosphere, small star, and how fast the system is moving away from the Earth.

  • Deep oceans dissolve the rocky shell of water-ice...
    on May 26, 2021 at 10:59 pm

    Laboratory experiments allow insights into the processes under the extreme pressure and temperature conditions of distant worlds.

  • Distant planet may be on its second atmosphere
    on March 11, 2021 at 7:20 pm

    Scientists have found evidence that a planet orbiting a distant star may have lost its atmosphere but gained a second one through volcanic activity.

  • On the quest for other Earths
    on February 17, 2021 at 4:54 pm

    An international research team has developed a new method for directly imaging smaller planets in the habitable zone of a neighboring star system. This opens up new possibilities in the search for extraterrestrial life.

  • Astronomers confirm solar system’s most distant...
    on February 10, 2021 at 8:33 pm

    Astronomers have confirmed that a faint object discovered in 2018 and nicknamed 'Farfarout' is indeed the most distant object yet found in our Solar System. The object has just received its designation from the International Astronomical Union.


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 detect new large sub-Neptune alien...
    on August 5, 2021 at 1:20 pm

    Using NASA's Transiting Exoplanets Survey Satellite (TESS), an international team of astronomers has detected a new sub-Neptune exoplanet orbiting an M dwarf star. The newly found extrasolar world, designated TOI-2406 b, is nearly three times larger than the Earth. The discovery is reported in a paper published July 29 on arXiv.org.

  • Discovery of very red bodies in the asteroid belt...
    on August 2, 2021 at 1:00 pm

    Two asteroids (203 Pompeja and 269 Justitia) have been discovered with a redder spectrum than any other object in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. The discovery was led by HASEGAWA Sunao, Associate Senior Researcher at ISAS JAXA, with an international team of researchers from MIT, the University of Hawai'i, Seoul National University, Kyoto University and the Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Marseille

  • NASA's Webb to explore a neighboring, dusty...
    on July 22, 2021 at 11:21 am

    Researchers will use NASA's upcoming James Webb Space Telescope to study Beta Pictoris, an intriguing young planetary system that sports at least two planets, a jumble of smaller, rocky bodies, and a dusty disk. Their goals include gaining a better understanding of the structures and properties of the dust to better interpret what is happening in the system. Since it's only about 63 light-years away and chock full of dust, it appears bright in infrared light—and that means there is a lot of […]

  • Planetary shields will buckle under stellar winds...
    on July 20, 2021 at 11:00 pm

    Any life identified on planets orbiting white dwarf stars almost certainly evolved after the star's death, says a new study led by the University of Warwick that reveals the consequences of the intense and furious stellar winds that will batter a planet as its star is dying. The research is published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, and lead author Dr. Dimitri Veras will present it today (21 July) at the online National Astronomy Meeting (NAM 2021).

  • Scientists solve 40-year mystery over Jupiter's...
    on July 9, 2021 at 6:00 pm

    A research team co-led by UCL has solved a decades-old mystery as to how Jupiter produces a spectacular burst of X-rays every few minutes.