Appearance-wise, Neptune looks a lot like a miniature, blue version of Jupiter—kind of a "smurf" version of Jupiter!  (1.6.x)  (1.4.1)

Neptune, the eighth and furthest known major planet from the Sun, is just completing its "first" orbit since its discovery in 1846!  (1.6.x)  (1.4.1)

Right Drag with your mouse after you run the links above that display planetary orbits to get a good sense of their 3-dimensional aspects.

Are you unfamiliar with our 1.6.x and 1.4.1 links?  For an explanation  click here.

CLOUDTOP VIEW

A gas giant, Neptune has no solid or liquid "surface".  So its "visible surface" is really the top of its complex cloud system!  As no spacecraft has yet sent back pictures from within or directly above the planet's awesome cloud layers, artists' depictions will have to suffice for now.

NASA Illustration: Cloudtops of Neptune.  Download hi-res version  here.

"Surface" of Neptune

CELES-TIPS

The following will help you enjoy this page's 1.6.x and 1.4.1 links that run events directly in CELESTIA.  If you're new to the program, these tips will also help you learn to use it.

You'll find more information about many of CELESTIA's controls on our  Learning Center  page.


NEPTUNE

Current Views and Conditions from Earth
Current Location in the Constellations (w/ Geo-Coords)
Current Location in Orbit

Equatorial Radius:    24,764 km
Equatorial Radius (Earth = 1):    3.883
Rotational Flattening:    0.01708
Mass (Earth = 1):    17.147
Volume (Earth = 1):    57.74
Mean Density (Water = 1):    1.64
Mean Density (Earth = 1):    0.297
"Surface" Gravity (Earth = 1):    1.14
Inclination of Axis to Orbit:    28.32°
           
Rotation Period: **
      Synodic ("Day" in Earth hours):    16.11
      Sidereal (in Earth hours):    16.11
Albedo (geometric):    0.41
Magnetospehere:
      Magnetic Field (Earth = 1):    26
      Magnetic Polarity:    opposite that of Earth

View Neptune in 3-D:  a terrific 3-D animation from Robert Vanderbei's great site.  Drag Neptune to see its poles; but if you do, view always rotates left to right, not around Neptune's axis.  (Requires browser supporting  WebGL )
NASA / JPL's Photojournal pages for Neptune

NOTE:  to see Neptune's internal structure, hover your cursor over the planet's image at upper-right.

Number of Moons:    at least 14 (more suspected)
      Major Moons: 3 (Triton  , Proteus  &  Nereid
            Orbits
            Compare to Other Moons
      Moon Discovered Most Recently  
      Wikipedia's Moons of Neptune page

Ring System:    Yes

Planet Classifications:
      Outer Planet (along with Jupiter, Saturn & Uranus)
      Gas Giant (mostly hydrogen and helium)
      Superior Planet (has larger orbit than Earth)

Orbit:   (1.6.x)   (1.4.1)
      Period:    164.79 Earth years
      Distance from Sun:
            Mean (Earth = 1 AU):    30.047 AU
            Mean:    4,495,060,000 km
            Perihelion:    4,444,450,000 km
            Aphelion:    4,545,670,000 km
      Velocity:
            Mean:    19,458 km/hr
            Min:    19,332 km/hr
            Max:    19,800 km/hr
      Eccentricity:    0.0113
      Inclination to Ecliptic:    1.769°

 *Earth solar day = 24.0000 hr
   Earth sidereal day = 23.9345 hr
**Different latitudes on the Gas Giants rotate at different speeds

Partial Information Source: NASA Fact Sheets


ADJECTIVES MEANING
"pertaining to Neptune"

      Neptunian
      Poseidian (from Greek god, Poseidon) obscure


VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY
video credit: NASA JPL-CalTech


DIRECT LINKS TO MEDIA
OFFERED ON OTHER SITES

A nice NASA-JPL Multimedia of  the Voyager Missions.






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NEPTUNE FUN FACTS

Though it is farther from the Sun, Neptune is warmer than Uranus!

Neptune possesses the most violent winds of any planet!

There is still a dispute over who discovered Neptune!

NEPTUNE INTERACTIVES

QUICK ACCESS LIST

Note: some links are echoed elsewhere on this page and may include descriptive text.

From NOAA's Science on a Sphere site is a 3D  Neptune  that can be rotated around 2 axes.  (When link runs click in the page's right column on "Interactive Sphere".)

Links to interactive features that show Neptune's orbit in 3-D can be found on our  Solar System page

NASA-JPL's  The Voyager Missions.

Neptune Viewer  lets you find the tilt of Neptune & its rings for any time and date.

Neptune Moon Tracker  allows you to generate and download diagrams of the locations of Neptune's moons and its Adams Ring over spans of time.


SKYMARVELS™
POSTERS FEATURING NEPTUNE

Earth's Tides

Our Corner of the Cosmos

Anatomy of the Milky Way


SKYMARVELS™
VIDEOS FEATURING NEPTUNE

The Solar System Barycenter

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