Neptune is the eighth and farthest known planet from the Sun in the Solar System.
In Roman mythology, Neptune was the god of the sea. He is also the namesake for Earth’s natural satellite, which orbits him. In 2014, Neptune completed its first orbit since it was discovered in 1846.
Here are ten fun facts about Neptune:
1. At 2.8 billion kilometres (17.2 AU) from the Sun, Neptune is almost four times as far from the Sun as Earth is. It completes one orbit around the Sun every 164 years!
2. Neptune has a diameter of 49,244 kilometres (about 3/4 that of Earth) and is slightly smaller than Uranus (which has a diameter of 51,118 kilometres).
3. Despite being so far away from the Sun, Neptune receives more sunlight than any other planet in our Solar System because its atmosphere reflects about 60% of incoming sunlight back into space. This makes it appear very bright when viewed through a telescope.
4. Neptune has a dark spot on its surface which is called the Great Dark Spot.
5. Neptune has a thin atmosphere which is made up of hydrogen, helium and methane.
6. Neptune has a faint ring system which was discovered in 1984.
7. Neptune has 14 moons. The largest moon is Triton which was discovered in 1846.
8. Neptune has the strongest winds of any planet in the Solar System.
9. Neptunian day lasts 16 hours and 7 minutes, meaning it rotates once on its axis every time it orbits around the Sun once. This rapid rotation causes strong winds at Neptunian latitudes similar to those found on Jupiter and Saturn but much weaker due to Neptune’s lower mass and gravity field strength.
10. The symbol for Neptune is the trident.