Hi! Do you know, which is the third most massive planet of our solar system? Which is the planet located by the mathematical calculation rather than physical finding?
Do you really know the most distant planet in our solar system? which is the breezy planet of the solar system?
So, now revealing the mystery and answering the above questions. Well, the answer to each question mentioned above is “Neptune”.
So, today I am gonna tell you the 7 secrets and facts of the third most massive planet of the solar system.
1. Third Most Massive Planet
The very first secret of Neptune is its size itself. Neptune is 17 times the mass of our earth. It has a radius of 24,622 km, four times wider than our Earth.
If we compare the size of Neptune with respect to the Earth, Neptune would be a baseball if assume the Earth to be a size of a nickel.
2. Farthest Planet of the Solar System
Here I am not talking about the dwarf planets, Pluto and Ceres. If we compare amongst the planets only, Neptune is the farthest planet from the sun.
Neptune is on an average of 4.5 billion km away from the sun. This makes Neptune around 30 times farther than that of earth. Means, in terms of Astronomical Units, Neptune is 30 AU away.
One more time, for your information, 1 AU equals the distance between the earth and the sun.
3. Only Planet found by Mathematical Calculation
28th December 1612 and 27th January 1613, Galileo made a drawing as per the observation recorded by the telescope. In that drawing, he plotted points out that exactly match up with the current position of Neptune.
Both times, Galileo mistook Neptune for a fixed star when it appeared close in conjunction with the Jupiter in the Night Sky. That is why Galileo is not credited with the discovery of Neptune.
Astronomical Tables of the orbit of Neptune’s neighbor Uranus by Alexis Bouvard in 1821. Subsequent observations revealed substantial deviations from the tables, leading Bouvard to hypothesize that an unknown body was perturbing the orbit through gravitational interaction.
In 1845–46, Urbain Le Verrier, independently of Adams, developed his own calculations but aroused no enthusiasm in his compatriots. Meanwhile, Le Verrier by letter urged Berlin Observatory astronomer Johann Gottfried, Galle, to search with the observatory’s refractor.
So, From this discussion, we clearly find out that Neptune was not discovered by physical observation rather it was mathematically calculated.
4. Disputed Discovery of Neptune
On the evening of 23 September 1846, the day Galle received a letter. That letter was mentioning that he discovered Neptune just northeast of Phi Aquarii.
1° from where Le Verrier had predicted it to be, about 12° from Adams’ prediction. and on the border of Aquarius and Capricornus according to the modern IAU constellation boundaries.
Challis later realized that he had observed the planet twice, on 4 and 12 August, but did not recognize it as a planet because he lacked an up-to-date star map and was distracted by his concurrent work on comet observations.
In the wake of the discovery, there was a heated nationalistic rivalry between the French and the British over who deserved credit for the discovery. Eventually, an international consensus emerged that Le Verrier and Adams deserved joint credit.
5. The Great Dark Spot
This Great Dark Spot is also known as GDS-89 and there is a reason behind naming the same. This spot was first identified by NASA’s Voyager 2 space probe in 1989.
Just like Jupiter’s Giant Red Spot, Neptune’s Dark Spot is also an anticyclonic storm. With Initial dimensions of 13000 x 6600 km, the dark spot is the same as the size of Earth.
6. Breezy Planet
Neptune is our solar system’s windiest world. Due to its great distance and low energy input from the sun, Neptune’s wind can be 3 times stronger than that of Jupiter and 9 times the Earth.
These winds are a blend of frozen methane across the planet. The speed of the wind is more than 2000 Km/hr. Even Earth’s most powerful winds hit only about 400 kilometers per hour.
7. A Disobedient Slave
As we all know, every planet which has a moon orbiting around it always follows the direction of rotation of its master planet.
But, Neptune has a moon named Triton which circles in the opposite direction of Neptune’s direction of rotation. This kind of spin of a celestial object is known as retrograde spin.
Triton was once an independent object that Neptune captured in the time span. Triton is extremely cold, with a surface temperature around minus 235-degree Celcius.
So, we have discussed the 7 secrets of the third most massive planet “Neptune” which everyone should know.
In the above discussion, we learned about the massiveness of the planet. Its distance from the sun. We learned that Neptune is the only planet discovered by mathematical calculation.
Further, we discussed the dispute between Britain and France for being credited for the discovery of the planet.
That’s all from me. Your feedback and suggestion would be most welcomed and appreciated.
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