Sunday, 10 July 2011

Neptune's Discovery

Fascinating article by way of The Guardian this morning, tomorrow is 1 year since the discovery of Neptune 167 Earth years ago...

Neptune's first orbit: a turning point in astronomy

As Neptune nears a historic orbit around the Sun, Robin McKie recalls the dramatic story of how the icy world was discovered
  • Neptune
    Neptune rising: although discovered in 1846, we didn’t get a glimpse of this alien world until Voyager 2 swept past in 1989. Photograph: Corbis
    Astronomers will celebrate a remarkable event on 11 July. It will be exactly one year since the planet Neptune was discovered. Readers should note a caveat, however. That year is a Neptunian one. The great icy world was first pinpointed 164.79 years ago – on 23 September 1846. And as Neptune takes 164.79 Earthly years to circle the sun, it is only now completing its first full orbit since its detection by humans. Hence those anniversary celebrations.

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