Neptune is a gas and ice giant like Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus with a rocky core. Currently, it is the farthest planet from the sun. But, the question asked in the title of the article is actually not that a simple question to answer. We shall see that in this article. We will also learn some interesting facts about Neptune other than it is the most distant planet of the solar system.
IS NEPTUNE THE SMALLEST OF THE GAS GIANTS?
Yes. Neptune is the smallest planet among the gas giants, like Jupiter, Uranus and Saturn. It may be smaller, but it is more massive than Uranus. It also possesses a higher density than Uranus. This occurs because of its small size and more mass. As a result, the density (Mass/Volume) increases. In fact, the density of this gas giant is 1.638 gram/cm^3. Undoubtedly, it’s the densest planet in the solar system.
GRAVITY OF NEPTUNE:
You’ll be startled to know that the surface gravity of Neptune is about Earth-like. One cannot stand on the surface of this planet without sinking in. However, if one stands and tries to walk, one will realize that the force of gravity on that planet is almost equal to that on our own planet. Ultimately, its gravity is closest to the earth’s gravity among the planets.
WHO DISCOVERED THIS GAS GIANT?
However, credit for the discovery of Neptune goes to the French mathematician Urbain Le Verrier and English mathematician John Couch Adams.
More about the discovery of Neptune
IT HAS THE STRONGEST WINDS IN THE ENTIRE SOLAR SYSTEM!
The Hurricane that occurs on the planet has a mind-blowing speed of 2100 kmph. Interestingly, this speed is close to that of the top speed of a U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornet Fighter Jet. Even our own planet sees up to 400 kmph maximum (250 mph).
IS IT THE DISTANT PLANET FROM THE SUN?
Well, this question has a very interesting answer. We first discovered this planet back in 1846. Then Pluto came into the picture in 1930. As a consequence, Neptune moved to second place on the most distant planet list. The most interesting fact is that sometimes Pluto orbits in such a way around the sun that it comes closer to the star than Neptune. Pluto has an elliptical orbit and it crosses its neighboring planet’s orbit. At this time, Neptune becomes the most distant planet. Quite remarkable, isn’t it? But as we all know, Pluto isn’t a planet anymore. You can check here why it was excluded from the solar system.