Neptune, the furthest planet from the sun, has several distinct interesting attributes.
Unlike Earth, Neptune’s surface is a mixture of hydrogen, helium and methane with some rocks, water and ice. Because much of its surface is gaseous, humans cannot land, much less walk on Neptune. The extreme high winds that surround Neptune–at times blowing more than 1,200 miles per hour–also make it one very windy and stormy planet.
All in the Name
Neptune is named for the Roman god of the sea (Greek equivalent is Poseidon). Roman mythology indicates that Neptune generated hurricanes, storms and even earthquakes. Given its atmosphere on and around the planet, “Neptune” seems to be a fitting name for the planet.
It takes approximately 165 years for Neptune to make one complete orbit around the sun. This means Neptune has yet to complete even one orbit around the sun since its discovery.
Triton holds the distinction for being Neptune’s largest moon as well as the largest moon on any planet. Triton also has an unusual orbit route. Instead of circling in the same direction as Neptune’s natural rotation, Triton orbits the planet in the opposite direction.
Like Saturn, Neptune has rings circling it, but the rings are darker and do not reflect light very well, so the rings are not as prominent as the ones that circle Jupiter.
The Great Spot
Since its discovery, one distinct identifying characteristic on Neptune is the “Great Dark Spot,” a concentrated area of hurricanes appearing on the surface of the planet. However, this area seems to be no more, as it mysteriously disappeared in 1994 for no apparent reason.