Neptune is the eighth planet from the sun. It lies in the outer half of the solar system. The fourth largest planet, it is named after the god of the sea. The outer planets of Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, and Uranus are all giant planets. Like Uranus, Neptune is considered an ice giant. Neptune has 14 satellites and a faint ring system.
Photo: the planet Neptune (© Sabio Parente).
Facts About Neptune
Distance from the sun: 4,537 million kilometers (aphelion), 4,459 million kilometers (perihelion).
Size: radius of 24.6 thousand kilometers.
Mass: 17.1 times that of the earth.
Gravity: 1.14 times that of the earth.
Satellites: 14 satellites.
Rotation: 18 hours (length of a day).
Revolution: 60,190 days (time to orbit the sun).
Surface Temperatures: 72 °K.
Features of Neptune
The atmosphere of this ice giant consists of hydrogen (80%), helium (19%), and methane (1%). The interior of the planet is made up of different forms of ice that includes water, ammonia, and methane. As a result, Neptune is considered an ice giant.
The atmosphere is more active than the atmosphere on Uranus. Neptune has a Great Dark Spot. This spot is similar to Jupiter’s Great Red Spot. These spots are actually intense storms in the planets’ atmospheres. The planet has the fastest winds in the solar system. At times, wind speeds reach 2000 kilometers per hour.
The planet also shares a similarity to Saturn. Like Saturn, the planet has rings. Scientists believe that these rings were formed by the destruction of at least one of her moons. The largest moon orbiting the planet is Triton.
This ice giant is the eighth planet from the sun. This makes it the most distant of the main planets from the sun. The eighth planet has a bluish color. This color is due to the absorbtion of red light by methane in the atmosphere.
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