Neptune is the eighth planet from the sun.
Along with Pluto, it is one of the only planets that can not be seen without a telescope.
Neptune has a diameter of 30,500 miles. It has eight moons and several rings.
Like Earth, Neptune is almost completely
composed of water. It is often referred to as one of the "Blue Planets." It is
also one of the windiest planets in the solar system.
It travels around the sun in an elliptical
orbit, and it revolves around the sun every 165 years. It takes this long because Neptune
is 2,798,800,000 miles away from the sun. As it makes its revolution, it rotates on it's
axis. The axis is at a tilt of 30 degrees to the perpendicular. Neptune makes one spin
every 16 hours and 7 minutes.
Neptune is made up of hydrogen, helium, water
and minerals known as silicates. The internal atmosphere consists of compressed gases. It
is covered by thick clouds. Neptune has many clouds that circle rapidly. Winds blow these
clouds up to 700 miles an hour. The clouds furthest from Neptune are composed of methane.
The lower clouds are darker and are composed of hydrogen sulfide.
Neptune has three basic weather patterns. These
are known as the Great Dark Spot, the Small Dark Spot, and Scooter. The Great Dark Spot is
a storm system almost as large as Earth! It spinds around once every 16 days. It is
surrounded by frozen methane clouds which condense over its edges. The Small Dark Spot has
a small cloud over it's center. Between these two is Scooter, a triangular white cloud
lying deep in the atmosphere. Neptune's center is very hot with a temperature of 7,000
degrees Celsius. The heat that Neptune creates is greater than it receives by the sun.
SATELLITES AND RINGS:
Neptune has eight moons, two of which can be
seen by a telescope. Triton is Neptune's largest satellite. It is the only moon that makes
an orbit in the opposite direction than it's planet. Neptune has 4 rings which are spaced
far apart, as a result they are fainter than those of Saturn. It is believed that they are
composed of dust particles. It has three segments that are brighter than any other portion
of the rings but scientists have not found out why this occurs.