Neptune is the outermost planet and one of the coldest planets in our Solar System. There are quite a few interesting facts about Neptune to explore, read on to learn a few.
1. It was the first planet to be found by mathematical prediction
It is the only planet in our Solar System that was discovered by mathematical prediction, rather than first observed.
What led to the discovery of this planet were the unexpected changes in the orbit of Uranus. This led Alexis Bouvard to form a hypothesis that gravity from another unknown planet has affected those changes. Using the data he gathered, the planet was later discovered.
2. Neptune has rings
Not as flashy as those of Saturn, but Neptune too is one of the planets that has a system of rings.
3. It has many moons
Neptune has 14 currently known moons. The moons with names are named after water deities from Greek mythology.
Triton is the largest of its moons.
4. It is an ice giant
Both Neptune and Uranus are ice giants. We define ice giants as planets that are mainly composed of elements that are heavier than hydrogen and helium.
5. A day on Neptune last 16 hours and 6 minutes, a year 165 Earth years
It takes Neptune only 16 hours and 6 minutes to revolve around its axis. To make one full orbit around the Sun, it takes Neptune a whooping 165 Earth years.
6. Jupiter got its name after the Roman god Neptune
Neptune, like most planets in our Solar System, got its name from Roman mythology. In ancient Roman religion, Neptune was the god of the sea.
7. It is the densest giant planet in our Solar System
It’s far less dense than any terrestrial planet, but when it comes to gas giants and ice giants, Neptune is the densest of them all.
8. It has no solid surface
The surface of Neptune isn’t in a solid-state, the same as is the case with other giant planets of our Solar System.
The surface is gaseous and swirling fluids. You wouldn’t be able to stand on the surface of Neptune.
9. It has very active weather patterns
One of the most interesting facts about Neptune is its weather. The weather on Neptune can be pretty wild. It has some of the strongest sustained winds in our solar system. Scientists observed dark spots, similar to the famous Great Red Spot on Jupiter, on multiple occasions. Pretty cool!
10. Its moon Triton is the only large moon that has a retrograde orbit
Retrograde motion means the body moves in a direction opposite to that of most other bodies. Some astronomical bodies have apparent retrograde motion (such as Tritan), and sometimes retrograde motion can be just an optical illusion.
Triton orbits the Neptune in the direction that is opposite to the rotation of the planet. It is the only large moon with a retrograde orbit.