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Astr111 Photography Projects, Fall 2004

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Neptune, Emily VanderSchel

Neptune Neptune

Neptune is approximately 30 AU from the sun, making it the eighth planet in the Solar System, as well as the furthest giant planet. Neptune is about 50,000 km across, about 17 times as massive as the earth, and takes about 165 years to orbit the sun. First observed by an unknowing Galileo in 1612, the planet was first officially located in 1846. The only visit to Neptune by a spacecraft occurred in August, 1989, by NASA's Voyager 2. It appears to be blue-green in color, due to red light absorption by the methane in its atmosphere. Other gases in the atmosphere are hydrogen and helium. Neptune's largest moon, Triton, was first observed only a month after Neptune was located, and appears to be a captured object, as it orbits Neptune in a retrograde motion. The much smaller moon, Nereid, revolves in a much more elliptical orbit, which ranges from 1.3 million to 9.6 million kilometers from Neptune . There are also 6 other moons (Proteus, Larissa, Galatea, Despina, Thalassa, Naiad) that orbit closer to Neptune . Neptune was first observed to have rings during a 1982 occultation, and has since been shown to have at least four distinct rings.

The pictures that I took of Neptune showed the moon, Triton, in its position relative to Neptune, as well as the size of Neptune, since we reduced the glare effect until Neptune stopped getting smaller. The line file is shown below.