• LOCATION 15 | Highlights from the Virtual Solar System Drive with Fred Watson

    Jupiter and Neptune

    Hey congratulations Terranauts, Jupiter is on our right-hand side and 21.5 kilometres from the telescope dome which represents the Sun. In the real Solar System, Jupiter is 778 million kilometres from the Sun!

    This is the largest planet in our Solar System and named after the King of the Roman gods. It’s HUGE! It also has a powerful magnetic field and more moons that any other planet in the Solar System. It is also the fastest spinning planet, so don't get dizzy!

    So we've still got one planet to talk about. What can you tell us about Neptune, Fred?

    [Fred] Neptune is thirty times the distance of the Earth from the Sun and is SO Far away, that it takes 165 earth years to go around the sun just once. That's a long time between Christmas's! Like Earth Neptune has seasons, but as the year is so long the four seasons last for over 40 years each. One day only lasts 16 hours - 8 less than our day - and sunlight takes 4 hours to travel from the Sun to Neptune.

    Of the giant planets, Neptune is the densest which means it weighs the most, and one of only two gas giants in our solar system. It is roughly four times the size of the earth, has 14 moons, and is made up by a hot fluid of "icy" materials—water, methane and ammonia—above a small, rocky core. These components, specifically methane, make it a deep blue colour. This is why it was named after the Roman god of the sea - Neptune.

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Highlights from the Virtual Solar System Drive with Fred Watson