Neptune

Blue World of the Deep



  Neptune is named after the Roman god of the sea. Seen through the telescope this planet appears as a tiny pale bluish dot. What we learned of this world was from Voyager 2 in 1989. This spacecraft passed within 4400 km of Neptune and returned breathtaking pictures of the planet, its rings and its moons..

     Neptune truly is out in the deep of the solar system, being over 30 times farther from the Sun than Earth. It is so far out that Neptune takes 165 years to make one trip around the Sun! Though its year is so long, Neptune spins fast, a day lasting 16 hours 3 minutes.

     Neptune has a few things in common with its closest neighbor Uranus. Neptune is only 4 percent smaller with a diameter of 49,5000 km (about 4 times the size of Earth.) Both planets have a bluish color and have rings, but Neptune's equator is only tilted 28 degrees to its orbit. In other ways, Neptune is a very different world from Uranus.

   A DARK SPOT AND TWISTED RINGS

   THE GUARDIAN'S MOONS

Copyright © 1997 Kathy A. Miles and Charles F. Peters II