Neptune is the eighth planet from the sun, putting the distance between the two at approximately 2.795 billion miles. How far apart Neptune and Earth are changes slightly, depending on the side of the sun that the two planets fall on. At their closest, there is a distance of about 2.7 billion miles, but at their furthest, the average distance is about 2.9 billion miles.
Exploring Neptune’s Orbit
From an Earth year’s perspective, Neptune takes about 164.8 years to orbit the sun. In its orbit around the sun, it moves at approximately 12,253 miles per hour. On its axis, this planet spins very fast, so it only takes about 18 hours for a single rotation to be completed. This is the reason for the planet not having a solid body.
Facts About This Planet’s Atmosphere
Neptune is a helium and hydrogen gas giant and the last planet of this type to remain in the solar system. Its surface is inundated by cold, dark and supersonic winds, which are a type of wind that can exceed 1,100 miles per hour at high altitudes. This is combined with a surface temperature that averages negative 353 degrees Fahrenheit.
While Saturn’s rings are the most famous in space, Neptune also has rings, but they are considerably fainter. There are three primary rings that are very dark and thin. They are comprised of dust and small rocks and the thickness varies, depending on the area.
Neptune and Earth are about as different as two planets can get while still sharing the same solar system. Scientists do not get to spend as much time researching this planet as they do those, such as Mars and Jupiter, as a result of this distance. One spacecraft has visited the planet back in 1989, but most research is done via ground telescope.