The farthest known planet from the Sun is Neptune. Neptune, alongside Uranus is one of the ice giants. It’s atmosphere is primarily hydrogen and helium, but like your anus, sorry meant Uranus, it has some ice water, ice ammonia and ice methane. Although its named after the Roman god of fresh water and the sea, how Neptune got its name is interesting (point 1 below). More facts about Neptune below:
1. Neptune was kind of discovered by Galileo in 1612
According to his notes, Galileo thought Neptune was a star in the night sky. Because of this the credit for discovery of Neptune is given to Urbain Le Verrier who mathematically predicted the existence of Neptune prior to its telescopic observation by Johann Gottfried Galle.
After it was discovered, it was realized that numerous previous observations had not labeled it a planet. Le Verrier proposed the name Neptune, despite controversy over its discovery which took place after its discovery.
2. Neptune takes 164.8 Earth years to orbit the Sun
Since it’s discovery in 1846 by Le Verrier, Neptune celebrated its first “year” orbit around the Sun in 2011. It’s next orbit will be completed in 2176, so stay tuned.
3. Neptune hosts some very harsh storms
Extremely fast winds of nearly 2,000 feet (600 m) per second track around the planet. In comparison, the strongest hurricane winds found on earth are around 360 feet (110 m) per second.
4. Neptune hosts 14 moons
The biggest of Neptune’s moons, Triton, was discovered just 17 days after the discovery of Neptune itself. This giant is 99.5% of the mass that orbits Neptune. In about 3.6 billion years this moon will be torn apart and may add to the rings of Neptune. Somebody start the popcorn.
5. It rains diamonds on Neptune!
Found someone with whom you want to spend the rest of your life? Need something expensive to impress them? Screw the jewelry store, take a trip over to Neptune. Only about 2.795 billion miles (4.49 billion km) away, you’ll have all the diamonds you want, as it rains diamonds on Neptune! Another hypothesis suggests that there may be oceans filled with massive diamond icebergs.
Scientists believe that it rains diamonds on Neptune as well as Uranus. The hypothesis is that when large lightning storms, which happen often, strike methane (CH4), carbon (C) atoms are broken away and clump in soot. These carbon clumps then fall lower into the atmosphere where the extreme pressure and temperatures squeeze them into solid diamonds! That is some expensive rain!
6. Neptune has five main rings
The five rings on Neptune are named after its discoverers (Halle (no, not Halle Berry), Le Verrier, Lassell, Arago, and Adams). These were first observed by the Voyager 2 space probe.
7. Neptune is about 58 times bigger than Earth.
Have an equatorial diameter of 30,775 miles (49,528 km), Neptune is massive in comparison to our home world.
8. Neptune only gets about 1/1000th of the sunlight we receive
9. Neptune is the furthest planet from the Sun
When Pluto was down-graded to a dwarf planet in 2006, Neptune became the outer-most planet of our solar system
So long Pluto… we miss you!