It’s so often the planet that gets forgotten, but that doesn’t mean there’s not a whole host of incredible facts to learn about this alien planet. Take a look at these interesting facts about Neptune, give them some thought and then wow your friends with some amazing knowledge of the outer reaches of the solar system.
- Now that Pluto has lost its planet status, Neptune is the most distant planet in the solar system.
- It’s also the smallest gas giant in our galactic neighbourhood.
- The strength of Neptune’s gravity is a little stronger than here on Earth. Earth’s gravity is 9.807 m/s², and Neptune’s gravity is 11.15 m/s².
- The weather is nothing to write home about — it has the strongest winds in the solar system at over 2,100 km/hour!
- If that wasn’t bad enough it’s also the coldest with a typical temperature of -221 Celsius.
- Neptune has 5 rings which can only just be seen. They’re named after the astronomers that made major discoveries about the planet – Galle, Le Verrier, Lassell, Arago, and Adams.
- Between 1979-99 the large elliptical orbit of Neptune meant that Pluto was actually closer to the Sun.
- The rings are 20% dust and 80% small rocks covered in organic compounds.
- They are totally different to the iconic, highly visibly rings of Saturn which are mostly made up of icy material.
- Neptune’s rings are much younger than the planet itself and are thought to be debris from a collision between its original moons.
- Triton is Neptune’s largest moon and it’s thought that the strength of its gravity pulled it away from the Kuiper Belt and held it in orbit around Neptune.
- It’s predicted that in several billion years Triton will be smashed to bits by Neptune’s gravity leaving a highly visible ring.
- NASA‘s Voyager 2 got within 3,000 km of Neptune’s North Pole in 1989.
- The Great Dark Spot on Neptune was thought to be a storm or giant cloud, and can no longer be seen by the Hubble Space Telescope.
- Whilst Neptune’s gravity is only 17% stronger than on Earth, you wouldn’t be able to stand on the surface because it’s just a big pool of fluid.
Do you have any interesting or fun facts about Neptune you’d like to share with us? Let us know in the comments section below!
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