Welcome to Neptune

This is the planet for those visitors who like to be cool, man, cool. You'll need to bring more than your thermals, however. Neptune is one of the coldest planet in the entire solar system with an average temperature of 360 degrees Fahrenheit (218 degrees Celsius) below zero on its surface.

Neptune is normally the eighth the planet from the Sun. Because Pluto's orbit tucks inside Neptune's natural orbit every 248 years, Neptune is the ninth planet from the Sun and Pluto is the eighth. Twenty years later they reverse themselves, and Pluto is once again the farthest from the Sun. It's average distance from the Sun is 2,797 million miles. It takes Neptune 165 years to circle the Sun, but completes a rotation around its axis every 16 hours and 17 minutes. As one of the larger planets, Neptune's diameter is 30,776 miles, which means about sixty Earth planets could fit inside it!

Like the other gas giants, Neptune is basically a body of gas made of hydrogen, helium and methane, but has an inner core made of iron, rock, and metal. The methane in Neptune's atmosphere gives Neptune its beautiful blue appearance. Strong winds of 1,500 miles per hour gust small bands of clouds across Neptune's sky which paints a wonderful picture. Astronomers are watching one cloud in particular and have named it Scooter because it zips around Neptune every 16 hours.

As in the case of Saturn, Neptune passed in front of a star in 1981. The star blinked off and on four times. This told the astronomers that there were four rings. When looked at closely, the astronomers could only see parts of rings, like the rings were broken. They called these broken rings ring arcs. In 1989, Voyager 2 passed Neptune and took pictures of the rings. The pictures showed the spaces in the rings were just parts of dark dust and rock that was not visible from Earth.

Neptune has eight moons. While visiting Neptune you'll have a chance to see Neptune's eight satellites or moons. Neptune that has only been visited by one spacecraft, Voyager 2 on August 25, 1989, has a diameter of 4 times that of the Earth. It is very similar to Uranus in size and the amount of time it takes to rotate on it's axis.

Neptune also has a very active weather system. Some of it's storms with winds of 400 miles per hour have thought to last for hundreds of years. Neptune's blue color is a result of absorption of red light by methane in it's atmosphere. Neptune's winds are also the fastest in the solar system at 2000 kilometers per hour. Neptune also has rings or as Earth observations show arcs instead of complete rings.

Neptune has a Great Dark Spot that is about half the size of Jupiter Great Red Spot. The spot is about the same size as Earth's diameter. The only problem is the spot disappeared. The spot could also hidden behind aspects of the atmosphere.

Well if you want to come chill out Neptune the place to be.

| Voyager: Neptune Science |

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