Project Proxima

A trip to Proxima Centauri @proximaspace

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an image of Neptune

Neptune is the eighth and farthest planet from the Sun in the Solar System. It is the fourth-largest planet by diameter and the third-largest by mass. Among the gaseous planets in the Solar System, Neptune is the most dense. Neptune is 17 times the mass of Earth and is slightly more massive than its near-twin Uranus, which is 15 times the mass of Earth, and not as dense as Neptune. Neptune orbits the Sun at an average distance of 30.1 astronomical units.

Neptune was the first and only planet found by mathematical prediction rather than by empirical observation. Unexpected changes in the orbit of Uranus led Alexis Bouvard to deduce that its orbit was subject to gravitational perturbation by an unknown planet. Neptune was subsequently observed on 23 September 1846 by Johann Galle within a degree of the position predicted by Urbain Le Verrier, and its largest moon, Triton, was discovered shortly thereafter, though none of the remaining 13 moons were located telescopically until the 20th century. Neptune was visited by Voyager 2, when it flew by the planet on 25 August 1989.

Neptune is similar in composition to Uranus, and both have compositions that differ from those of the larger gas giants, Jupiter and Saturn. The interior of Neptune, like that of Uranus, is primarily composed of ices and rock. Perhaps the core has a solid surface, but the temperature would be thousands of degrees and the atmospheric pressure crushing. Traces of methane in the outermost regions in part account for the planet's blue appearance.