Neptune

Surprising cold on Neptune Space

Surprising cold on Neptune

Neptune, the outermost planet of our solar system, does not belong to the ice giants with its neighbor Uranus for nothing. The enormous distance to our central star ensures that the temperature out there falls below minus 200 degrees Celsius (-238 °F). Exactly how warm it gets depends, of course, on its current position in orbit. However, distinct seasons are not really to be expected: Neptune has an almost circular orbit, so it only moves away from or comes close to the Sun minimally, and at the same time it stands on this orbit with a very low axial…
Water oceans in the crust of icy planets Life

Water oceans in the crust of icy planets

A pressure 200,000 to 400,000 times that of Earth's atmosphere, plus temperatures around 1500 Kelvin - these sound like uncomfortable conditions. They prevail where, in water-ice planets of the size of Neptune, the ice merges into the rocky core. Does liquid water exist under these conditions, and if so, how does it interact with the planet's rocky seafloor? New experiments show that on water-ice planets between the size of our Earth and up to six times that size, water selectively leaches magnesium from typical rock minerals. An international team of researchers led by Taehyun Kim of Yonsei University in Seoul,…
Where the geysers on Neptune’s moon, Triton, come from Space

Where the geysers on Neptune’s moon, Triton, come from

Triton is a strange moon. It is the only one of the large moons of our Solar System that rotates the wrong way about its planet – Neptune, the eighth and outermost planet. That’s also why it’s assumed that Triton is a Kuiper belt object, similar to Pluto, that was captured by Neptune. On first look, Triton appears very hostile to life – at temperatures close to 0 Kelvin, the atmosphere, which consists of nitrogen, methane, and carbon monoxide, is almost completely frozen, and thus it is very thin; Earth’s atmosphere is 70,000 times thicker. (more…)