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Neptune-Introduction

Neptune is the 4th largest planet in our solar system. It is the 8th planet from the sun and is about 72 times the size of Earth.

It is a blue-green colour and 5 thin rings and 8 known satellites, 2 of which can be observed from Earth.

Neptunian weather can be very interesting as it can have large storms, often the size of Earth. One example of these extreme weather patterns is the great dark spot discovered by Voyager 2. This spot has since disappeared. It has either simply dissipated or is currently being masked by other aspects of the Neptunian atmosphere.

Neptune can be seen with binoculars if you know exactly where to look, but to get a view other than a small disk you will need a large telescope. It is very hard to find Neptune unless you know its exact location in the sky. Many Internet sites offer this information or if you have a planetarium program such as starry night these charts these charts can be created.

Neptune, like Uranus, has a very oddly oriented magnetic field similar in strength to Earth’s. This is probably due to motion of conductive material in its middle layers. The magnetic field is tilted more than 50o to Neptune’s rotation axis.

Neptune and Pluto have interesting orbits as every 248 years they cross, making Neptune the furthest planet from the sun for about 20 years. Last time this happened was in 1979. In 1999 there orbits crossed again making Pluto the outer most planet again.

Neptune was named after the sea god from Roman and Greek mythology by its discoverers John Couch Adams and Urbain Jean Joseph Leverrier. It is quite an appropriate name, as Neptune has a watery interior.