Neptune is the eighth planet in the solar system.
Here are some facts and other places you can find information.
Blue Neptune is one of the solar system's gas giants. Unlike Earth, gas giants are mostly hydrogen, helium, and methane gases. The methane gas on Neptune gives the planet its blue color because the gas absorbs red light and reflects the blue back into space. Although not seen in the image the planet has a set of very faint rings.
The Great Dark Spot, the dark oval on the planet, was a storm like the Great Red Spot on Jupiter. The storm has disappeared since this image was taken by Voyager 2 according to Hubble Space Telescope data but another spot was found in a different place. The atmosphere shows lots of activity including the white clouds of methane ice crystals seen in the image at left.
The unusual texture of one of Neptune's moons, Triton, reminds some people of a cantaloupe. It is the largest moon to orbit retrograde (backwards) around a planet.
Neptune Moon Count Hits 13
Recently more moonlets have been found orbiting the planet, bringing its total to 13. Observers spotted them using large telescopes in Chile and Hawaii. They are the first Neptunian moons discovered since 1989 when Voyager 2 passed by. Their orbits indicate they may be from a collision between another moon and a large object.
Why are the planets named for Roman gods? What is the story or myth about their names? Click image or here for Planet Myths and Lore.
Are There Planets Like Uranus Around Other Stars?
The first planet outside of our solar system was discovered around 51 Pegasi, a small star in the constellation Pegasus. Since then more than 100 planets have been found.
For more information on how astronomers discover new planets click image or go to NASA/JPL Planetquest. Close the tab to return to Kid's Cosmos.
|Quick Facts about Uranus|
|Mass||1.024 x 1026 kg|
|Volume||6.379 x 1013 km3|
|Temperature Range||-223° C to >-220° C|
|Atmosphere||Hydrogen, Helium, Methane|
|Winds||Up to 2400 m/s|
|Average Distance from Sun||4,504,300,000 km|
|Orbital Period||164 Years, 288 Days, 13.0 Hours|
|Rotation||0 Days, 16.11 Hours|
|Composition||Hydrogen and Helium|
|Magnetic Field||Up to 20 times its radius|
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