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Neptune celebrates birthday

14/07/2011 Joanna
The planet Neptune celebrated its first birthday this week.

It is one Neptunian year (164.79 earth years) since the blue planet was first discovered.

It was spotted on September 23rd 1846 by German astronomer Johann Gottfried Galle, who found the planet using theories put forward by French mathematician Urbain le Verrier and British scientist John Couch Adams.

Four images of the planet taken by Nasa's Hubble Space Telescope were released to mark the occasion.

Located around 2.8 billion miles from the sun, seasons on Neptune last approximately 40 years and a day is 16 hours long. It is currently early winter on Neptune.

Speaking to the BBC, Dr Alan Chapman, author of the Victorian Amateur Astronomer, said: "It's a frozen lump of frozen gases and I suppose not a terribly friendly place," says Dr Chapman.

"Let's wish it a happy birthday but perhaps let's keep as far away from it as we can as it won't give you a welcome."

Posted by Katy Kearns
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