May 20, 2019

AstroEvent: The Many Birthdays of Neptune.

Current position of Neptune versus discovery. (Created by Author using Starry Night).

Mark your calendars; the planet Neptune, the first world discovered by a tour de force of pure mathematics, passes a landmark this week…sort of. The story harkens way back to a prediction made by Urbain Le Verrier of the position of an object tugging on the Planet Uranus. (Yes, we know of the John Couch Adams controversy!) The object was spotted by Johann Galle and Heinrich d’Arrest at the Berlin observatory on the night of September 23-24th 1846 using Le Verrier’s predictions and was within a degree of where it should be. But did you know that Neptune is just now completing its first full orbit since discovery? [Read more...]