Lesson Plan - Get It!
Did you know that Neptune is usually the eighth planet from the sun, but sometimes Pluto's orbit makes Neptune number nine? How do you figure that works?
The eighth planet from the sun, Neptune, was discovered only about 170 years ago!
It is the eighth planet from the sun but is, surprisingly, not the coldest planet in the solar system! Because there is a core in the middle of Neptune, it holds some of the heat it receives from the sun, whereas Uranus does not. As you learn about Neptune, write down as many facts as you can to be used later in this lesson.
Now, if you like cold weather, don't get too excited, because you can't live on Neptune because the temperature is -360 degrees Fahrenheit! BRRR! That is 300 degrees colder than the North and South Poles on Earth!
Neptune is much larger than Earth. In fact, about 60 Earths could fit inside Neptune!
Neptune is extremely windy. It is the windiest planet in the solar system. Winds blow at more than 1,300 miles per hour (mph)! In fact, the winds were so strong that it blew a storm as big as Earth across the planet at 700 mph!
Neptune's atmosphere is mostly made of methane, which absorbs, or soaks up, red light so only blue colors show up. Therefore, Neptune appears to be blue, much like Uranus.
Scientists believe there may be an ocean of super-hot water under Neptune's cold clouds. It does not boil away because of the extremely strong pressure that keeps the water on the planet. Have you ever dove into the water and, as you go down in the water, the pressure in your ears gets painful? It's the same idea on Neptune.
Image by Kevin Gill at NASA, via Wikimedia Commons, is licensed under the CC BY-SA 2.0 license.
Because of the extreme pressure, it is not possible for spacecraft or human beings to land on Neptune, so all we know about the planet comes from pictures and video taken from above it.
Neptune has six rings and 13 known moons. One of Neptune's moons, Triton, gets colder than Pluto! A spacecraft called Voyager 2 photographed geysers (bursts of water into the air) and nitrogen gas!
Neptune is one of the four gas giants in the solar system. Do you remember what the other gas giants are? The other gas giants are Uranus, Jupiter, and Saturn.
One day on Neptune takes 16 Earth hours, and one year takes almost 165 Earth years! When you are 2.795 BILLION miles from the sun, it takes a very long time to get all the way around it!
Write down three facts that you learn from the following video, All About Neptune for Kids: Astronomy and Space for Children – FreeSchool:
Did you find out more about Neptune from the video? What facts did you learn from the video? Share these with your teacher or parent.
You will use these facts and the facts you learned in this section in the Got It? section.