Interesting Facts about Neptune

Neptune Data

Distance from Sun: 2.793 billion mi

Orbital period: 165 years

Surface area: 2.941 billion mi²

Radius: 15,299 mi

Length of day: 0d 16h 6m

Neptune Discovery 

Neptune was discovered on September 23, 1846, by Urbain Le Verrier (Urbain Le Verrier was born in 1811).

Urbain Le Verrier

Uranus did not have the orbit scientists expected it to have based on their mathematical calculations. 

Urbain Le Verrier inferred there had to be another planet. Le Verrier handed his calculations to Johann Gottfried Galle at the Berlin Observatory.

Using Urbain Le Verrier calculations, Galle was able to find Neptune within one hour of working.

Unfortunately, for Urbain Le Verrier, his mathematical calculations were completed by John Couch Adams. In consequence, the two men ended up sharing the discovery of Neptune.

Neptune's Names 

The first suggestion for a name came from Johann Galle, who proposed the name, Janus. Another suggested Oceanus. None of these names ended up sticking because Urbain Le Verrier, claimed the right to name the Planet because he discovered Uranus. The name Neptune ended up sticking.

Who was Neptune 

Neptune: the god of water & sea in Roman Mythology. His brothers were Jupiter & Pluto. Neptune’s favorite weapon was the trident and is known for riding sea creatures.   

neptune god of the sea

Inside of Neptune 

Its atmosphere forms about 5% to 10% of its mass and extends perhaps 10% to 20% of the way towards the core. The mantle of Neptune is rich in water, ammonia, and methane. The mantle of Neptune may have a layer where water molecules break down into hydrogen and oxygen bonds.  

At a depth of 4349.598 miles, the conditions may result in methane decomposing into diamond crystals, which results in hailstones forming. 

The core of Neptune is primarily composed of iron, nickel, and silicates. An interior model gives it a mass of about 1.2 times that of Earth.

Formation of Neptune

Neptune formed after the Solar System formed, about 4.5 billion years ago. 

More than 80% of the Neptune formed from icy materials; water, methane, and ammonia—above a small, rocky core.


  • Urbain Le Verrier discovered Neptune 
  • Neptune is named after the Roman God of water
  • The mantle of Neptune is rich in water, ammonia, and methane.
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