There are a plethora of interesting facts of Neptune for kids which you should know while exploring about the space. Neptune is one of the four gas giants in the solar system. It’s the 8th and farthest planet from the sun. It’s the massively densest, fourth largest in diameter, and third most giant planet in the solar system. The mass of Neptune is 17 times more than that of Earth and a little massive compared to its near-twin Uranus, whose mass is 15 times more than that of Earth and is slightly bigger than Neptune.
Facts of Neptune for Kids
|Name||Neptune. Named after the Roman god of sea|
|Position||It is the most farthest planet in the solar system, which means it's the 8th planet in the solar system.|
|Distance from Sun||Approximately 2.79 billion miles or 4.5 billion km|
|Diameter||Approximately 30,600 miles or 49,300 km|
|Number of Moons||There are 14 known Moons of Neptune.|
|Compostion||The core of Neptune is made from extremely hot and pressurized rocky materials. The surface of the planet is an ocean of hydrogen, helium, and water.|
|Rotation||16.11 Earth hours|
|Revolution||163.72 Earth years|
|Discovered by||First noticed by Galileo; but discovered by Urbain Le Verrier, Johann Gottfried Galle, and John Couch Adams|
|Visited by||Voyager 2|
Facts of Neptune for Kids: How was the Neptune discovered?
There’s an interesting theory on how the planet Neptune was discovered. Orbits of Uranus found to encounter irregularities in their behavior. When astrophysicists observed this, they calculated that something is causing an irregularity in the paths of Uranus and pulling Uranus towards it. After that, they calculated the physical characteristics of the other object and later discovered it to be Neptune. Fascinatingly, Neptune was the first planet to be discovered through mathematical calculation.
How did it get the name ‘Neptune’?
Romans are known for naming planets in the Solar system. Similarly, this planet was also named by them. The Romans had named five of the closest planets to the Sun after their most important Gods. These were the planets which were bright enough to be seen by the naked eyes. After some time, when telescopes came into use, other planets were discovered. To recuse the confusions, without any second thoughts, astronomers decided to name the newly discovered planets after the Roman Gods. Hence, this planet was named Neptune as it was bluish which resembled the Roman God of the sea.
How was Neptune formed?
Neptune is believed to have formed by the initial buildup of the solid core trailed by taking hold of helium and hydrogen gas in the nebula encircling the sun. This way, in the course of 1 to 10 million years, proto-Neptune was formed.
Exciting physical characteristics of Neptune
These are going to be some exciting facts of Neptune for kids.
- The mass of Neptune 1.0243 x 1026 kg is in-between the masses of Earth and other larger gas giants. It’s 1/19th of Jupiter but still 17 times more than that of the Earth.
- The gravitational force of Neptune is 11.15 m/s2 which is 1.14 times more than that of Earth’s gravitational force (9.807m/s2), and also, it surpasses Jupiter’s gravitational force
- The equatorial radius of Neptune, i.e., 15387 miles (24,764km) is four times that of Earth
- Neptune is used as metonym while searching extrasolar planets which means the bodies discovered of similar mass in the space are called as Neptunes just like scientists mention several extrasolar bodies as ‘Jupiter.’
- As it’s mentioned in kid facts about Uranus, Neptune is similar to Uranus, like in the subclass of giant planets – ice giants. It’s because they are smaller and have higher volatile concentrations compared to Saturn and Jupiter.
- The winds of Neptune can reach up to 1500 mph which is the fastest measured wind speed in the solar system
- Neptune rotates with a wild swing because of its great magnetic field. It’s 27 times more than that of the Earth.
Neptune is the most distant planet
It may sound simple, but it’s rather complicated. Neptune was first discovered in 1846 which instantly meant that it was the 8th planet in the solar system and the farthest planet as well. However, in 1930 Pluto was discovered, and Neptune became the 2nd most distant planet in the solar system.
This might make you think that it would have settled the discussion, but no. Pluto’s orbit around the sun is very elliptical which means there were periods when Pluto was nearer to the sun than Neptune. This confused many scientists and astronomers. However, after Pluto was declared a dwarf planet, the discussion of the farthest planet settled once in for all.
Neptune is the smallest of all the gas planets
With an equatorial diameter of just 30,600 miles, Neptune is the smallest of all the other gas planets (Jupiter, Uranus, and Saturn) present in the solar system. But here’s the funny thing; Neptune has more mass than Uranus. It’s the densest gas planet in the solar system.
Neptune has rings
When you think of a planet having rings around it, you only think of Saturn. However, it might come as a surprise that Neptune has a ring system around it as well. Unfortunately, they are not visible which is why they are not well-recognized. Neptune contains five rings that are composed of 20% dust which are micrometer-sized, like the particles that make up the rings of Jupiter. The rest of the rings are made of small rocks.
Neptune’s rings are very hard to observe as they are very dark which also means that they contain organic matter in them. It’s believed that the rings of Neptune are very young – much younger than the solar system, and much younger than the rings of Saturn and Uranus.
Neptune’s largest moon Triton is probably captured
Neptune’s largest moon, Triton, revolves around the planet in a retrograde orbit. This means that the moon orbits backward when compared to the planet’s other moons. Astronomers and researchers think this is because Neptune probably captured Triton. They believe that Triton did not form like other natural satellites.
At some point, billions of years from now, Triton will probably be torn apart by Neptune’s gravity, and it will form a new ring around the planet. There is a probability that Neptune’s gravitational forces will pull the ring inward creating a magnificent sight for the onlookers.
Neptune has only been visited once
Here are some more interesting facts of Neptune for kids – NASA’s Voyager 2 is the only spacecraft to visit this distant planet. Voyager 2 visited Neptune during its grand tour of the solar system on August 25, 1989. It made a flyby within 3000 km of the planet’s north pole. This was the closest approach to any planet or object that Voyager 2 made in its journey.
The spacecraft studied the atmosphere of Neptune. It also studied the magnetosphere, rings, and conducted a close flyby of the planet’s largest moon, Triton. Additionally, it also sent the pictures of the great dark spot of Neptune, which has now disappeared as observed by the Hubble Space Telescope.
Interesting, fun facts of Neptune for kids – DO NOT MISS OUT ON THESE FACTS
- Neptune isn’t visible to naked eyes, and thus ancients couldn’t recognize it. In 1846, Jean Joseph Le Verrier discovered the last planet of the solar system.
- Right up front, it was called as Le Verrier, named after the astronomer who discovered it. Somehow, this name wasn’t sticky and seemed complex; hence, it was changed to Neptune to fall in line with the remaining planets.
- Neptune is also a gas giant. It consists of layers with 29% helium, 80% of hydrogen and specs of methane gas. Neptune does not have a solid surface but it’s expected that it might have a solid core similar to the size of the Earth.
- It needs 164.8 earth years to complete a rotation around the Sun. Isn’t it one of the crazy facts of Neptune for kids?
It means 60190 days of Earth. Isn’t that crazy? It’s the slowest planet to move around the Sun. It completed its first year in 2011 after it was discovered in 1846. If we are to live there, nobody will get to celebrate their birthdays (as maximum longevity ever had on Earth is 95)
- Neptune is the name of the Roman God. The planet discovered by Le Verrier was blue and the Roman God of the sea; Neptune resembled blue (more or less sea looks blue), hence, it was named Neptune
- Neptune was discovered by studying about Uranus. It was found that Uranus experienced a gravitational pull at the same position every time it orbited around the Sun. This led scientists to discover Neptune
- Similar to Uranus, Neptune is also called as an ice giant. It’s due to the presence of ammonia, water and methane ice in the inner layer of it.
- Neptune is 2700 million miles (4345 million kilometers) away from Earth
- Neptune’s distance from the sun is 2793 million miles (4495 kilometers) which is the farthest planet in the solar system.
- There’s a Great Dark Spot storm in Neptune. It’s similar to the Great Red Spot on Jupiter. The size of this storm is almost the size of the Earth.
- It spins fast in its axis even though it orbits slowly around the sun. It spins so fast in its own axis, that a day on Neptune is just 18 hours long, which is 6 hours less than Earth’s time to rotate.
- It has 14 moons. The largest moon among them is named Triton which was discovered months after the Neptune was located. One of the fascinating facts of Neptune for kids is its special moon Triton which turns in the opposite direction in its own axis while orbiting around Neptune. This is known as retrograde orbit. You can imagine moving a car (Sun) in a clockwise (Neptune) direction while your friend is walking around you in an anti-clockwise (Triton) direction.
- Neptune moons are named after Roman water gods. This is because Neptune was named after the Roman God of the sea. The moons were also named after the Roman Gods of water. Their names include Proteus, Despina, Neired, and Thalassa.
- The diameter of Neptune is 29297 miles (47150 kilometers). It shows that Neptune is the third largest planet in the Solar system.
- It’s extremely cold in Neptune. The temperature on Neptune is -2140 Celsius (-3530 Fahrenheit.) The temperature never gets high on this planet as its too far from the sun.
- Neptune too has rings. It’s nothing as exquisite as Saturn’s ring system, but still, it has faint rings revolving around it. These are most likely formed by the ice particles and grains of dust, and these rings are reddish in hue.
- The only spacecraft to reach Neptune is Voyager 2. It was navigated to Neptune back in 1989, and it sent back the close-up pictures of Neptune to Earth. As Neptune is the farthest, it took 4 hours and 6 minutes for that signal to reach Earth.
- Neptune has the strongest magnetic field. It’s the planet with the highest magnetic field in the solar system. It’s magnetic field measures to be 27 times more than that of Earth, as mentioned in the article kid facts about Earth. It’s quite distinct when compared to other planet’s axis and so is tilted at 47 degrees. For now, there are no missions set to explore Neptune.
- The number of rings. Neptune totally has six rings around it.
- Comparison to earth. As many as 60 Earths could fit into Neptune.
- Mathematical prediction. This is the first planet that was discovered by using mathematical calculations.
Composition of Neptune
According to Triston Guillot, author of the journal science theory, “Interiors of Giant Planets Inside and Outside the Solar System,” by mass. The composition of Neptune is believed to be 60 to 70 percent ice, hydrogen, and helium of 5 to 15 percent, and 25 percent of the rock.
The internal structure of Neptune: It has methane ices, ammonia, and mantle of water; Magnesium-silicate and iron core.
The orbit and rotation of the moon
The average distance of Neptune from the sun: 2,795,084,800 miles, which is comparatively 30.069 times far from the Earth
Aphelion (the farthest distance of Neptune from the sun): 2,819,080,000 miles. Comparatively, it’s 30.326 times far to Sun than the Earth.
Perihelion (Closest distance to earth): 2,771,087, 000 miles. By evaluation, it’s 29.820 times that of the Earth.
Research and exploration
NASA sent a satellite Voyager 2, the first and only spacecraft that has visited Neptune. It reached Neptune on Aug 25, 1989. The satellite holds the credit of discovering Neptune’s rings and the six of its planets – Larissa, Naiad, Thalassa, Proteus, Galatea, and Despina. The international team of astronomers depending on earthly telescopes announced the discovery of five new orbiting moons around Neptune in 2003.
Conclusion on facts of Neptune for kids
One of the alluring facts of Neptune for kids is it has frigid weather averaging -3700. The coldest temperature ever recorded on Earth was -890. Hence, it’s not possible for plants or wildlife to survive on the planet which makes it impossible for humans to live there. Explore planet facts for kids to know more about other planets and their fun facts. Hope you have enjoyed reading this article. Drop in your views from the comments section below.