The Planet Neptune


Voyager 2 spacecraft image of Neptune

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Neptune is the outermost gas giant planet in the Solar System, weighing about 17 times the mass of the Earth. Through a telescope, it appears as a very small and blue disc. Cornell's Phil Nicholson has discovered several new moons of Neptune.

Cornell astronomers, in collaboration with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, developed an instrument called PHARO which can remove the blurring of the atmosphere and permit detailed images of small and distant objects like Neptune to be recorded from ground based telescopes. Otherwise, astronomers would have to rely on the Hubble Space Telescope and spacecraft flybys to record the weather features in Neptune's clouds.

Current Cornell Research

Professor Peter Gierasch studies the winds, clouds, and atmospheric processes on the outer planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.
Professor Phil Nicholson has discovered a number of new moons orbiting the outer solar system gas giants Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. His research involves uncovering how the distribution of moons of various sizes and orbits encodes information about the formation of the outer planets and Solar System.

 
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