Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Happy birthday Neptune

That's the headline you're reading a lot but, really, that's not entirely accurate. It's more of "New Year" celebration.

Specifically, July 12 marked the completion of one Neptunian revolution around the sun since its discovery in 1846. Here is a great video that shows how much history has occurred in the 165 Earth years since its discovery!

Of course, part of that history includes an actual robotic visit to the planet by Voyager 2 in August of 1989. We saw an amazingly cold planet, circled by a moon that traveled in a backward direction. The smallest amount of heat influences some of the most extreme weather in the solar system!

Neptune is muddling around in the constellations of Capricornus and Aquarius. And, when it gets high enough, in a telescope it will be..well..underwhelming. But, the chance to see a planet a couple of billion kilometers away is worth it. Awesome!

Clear skies!


  1. Hey this little blue dot against the starry background is always a treat to hunt down and rediscover! One of my most memorable observing times was spying that backward traveling moon from my patio last year.

  2. A great article! Neptune is a fascinating planet to observe in my 12 inch dobsonian.