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.

Neptune: photo (Sabinoparente).

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.

Vocabulary Building

The following is a recommended list of words and their definitions for students.

aphelion: the furthest point in the orbit of an object around the sun.

ice giant: a giant planet composed mostly of icy material containing oxygen, carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur (such as Uranus and Neptune).

perihelion: the closest point in the orbit of an object around the sun.

revolution: the length of time for a planet to orbit around the sun.

rotation: the spinning of a planet on its axis which causes its day and night.

Improving Your Reading and Thinking Skills

Think for a few moments. Try to recall the major ideas in this article. Try to answer the following questions to improve your reading comprehension.

• What is the planet’s Great Dark Spot?

• How many satellites does the planet possess?

• What is the composition of the planet’s interior?



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9 comments on "Neptune: Ice Giant Named After the God of the Sea"

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Webster Gabiana

Planeta malaking maitim na puwesto ay ang mga bagyo ay. Gayundin kasalukuyan ng hydrogen ay 80%

Webster Gabiana

The planet great dark spot is were the storm is. Also the present of the hydrogen is 80%.


Neptune is the eighth planet from the sun

Webster Gabiana

Ang planeta na mayroon ng Great dark spot at ang Neptune.Ang planeta Neptune at may labing-apat na satellietes.Ito ang nakaraming Distansya sa mga pangunahing mga planeta mula sa araw.

Webster Gabiana

The planet that have the Great dark spot is Neptune.The planet Neptune has fourteen satellites.It makes the most Distant of the main planet from the sun.