By Josepha Sherman
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48 4 8 Sun Neptune Pluto Pluto Neptune Neptune’s Physical Features Neptune seems to be made up of hydrogen, methane, ammonia, and water. For almost a hundred years, scientists had assumed that rock accounted for most of Neptune’s core. If this was true, it would mean that Neptune is more like Earth than the other gas giants. But when Voyager 2 passed close to Neptune, its data strongly suggested that Neptune’s core had a relatively low density—about that of water. This meant that the core probably was not made of rock or metals, since that would result in a higher density.
Though it is a gas giant, like some other planets, Neptune is very different from the other seven planets in our Solar System. 46 billion km) from the Sun, which makes it very cold. Yet it has some mysterious source of energy, which powers winds that can blow up to 1,000 or 1,500 miles (1,600 to 2,000 km) per hour. This is faster than the winds on any other planet. Neptune is also a deeper, richer hue of blue A striking image from Voyager 2 shows Neptune’s glowing rim. The blue-green color is from the methane in the planet’s atmosphere.
Satellite— An object that orbits a larger body. Satellites can be natural, such as a moon, or human-made, such as the Hubble Space Telescope. shepherd moons—Small moons found within a planet’s rings. The gravitational forces of these moons may keep the ring material together. terrestrial— Relating to land rather than to the sea or atmosphere. Find Out More BOOKS Aguilar, David. 11 Planets: A New View of the Solar System. : National Geographic Society, 2008. Barnes-Svarney, Patricia. A Traveler’s Guide to the Solar System.