EXPLORE THE WORLDS ABOVE

EXPLORE THE WORLDS ABOVE

LET’S EXPLORE NEPTUNE

  • Neptune is the farthest planet from the Sun, about 30 times more distant than Earth is.
  • Like Uranus, it contains large amounts of slushy ices of water, ammonia and methane. Because of this large ice content, Neptune and its twin Uranus are referred to as the Ice Giants.
  • Neptune was discovered in 1846 by French astronomer, Urbain Le Verrier who calculated its presence and location.
  • The Sun’s light at Neptune 900 times dimmer than it is here at the Earth.
  • It takes Neptune 165 years to orbit the Sun just one time.
  • Neptune’s blue color comes from the presence of methane in its atmosphere, which absorbs red and infrared light from the Sun and reflects the blue and green light.
  • Neptune has 14 known moons, and 5 bright rings.
  • The dark spots in Neptune’s atmosphere are storms similar to the Great Red Spot on Jupiter. However, these spots are not as long lived and seem to come and go over time.

Voyager 2
Launch Date: August 20, 1977
Voyager 2 is the only spacecraft to study all four of the solar system’s giant planets at close range.  Source: https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/missions/voyager-2/in-depth/

Source: NASA/JPL
Published: October 30, 1998
This picture of Neptune was produced from the last whole planet images taken through the green and orange filters on the Voyager 2 narrow angle camera. The images were taken at a range of 4.4 million miles from the planet, 4 days and 20 hours before closest approach. The picture shows the Great Dark Spot and its companion bright smudge; on the west limb the fast moving bright feature called Scooter and the little dark spot are visible. These clouds were seen to persist for as long as Voyager’s cameras could resolve them. North of these, a bright cloud band similar to the south polar streak may be seen.

Source: NASA/JPL
Published: July 30, 1999
This pair of Voyager 2 images (FDS 11446.21 and 11448.10), two 591-s exposures obtained through the clear filter of the wide angle camera, show the full ring system with the highest sensitivity. Visible in this figure are the bright, narrow N53 and N63 rings, the diffuse N42 ring, and (faintly) the plateau outside of the N53 ring (with its slight brightening near 57,500 km).

Source: NASA/JPL
Published: January 29, 1996
This Voyager 2 high resolution color image, taken 2 hours before closest approach, provides obvious evidence of vertical relief in Neptune’s bright cloud streaks. These clouds were observed at a latitude of 29 degrees north near Neptune’s east terminator. The linear cloud forms are stretched approximately along lines of constant latitude and the sun is toward the lower left. The bright sides of the clouds which face the sun are brighter than the surrounding cloud deck because they are more directly exposed to the sun. Shadows can be seen on the side opposite the sun.

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