Neptune Has Regular, 41-Earth-Year-Long Seasons

Neptune’s axis is tilted similarly to Earth’s, but because Neptune has an orbital period of 165 years, its seasons are considerably longer than ours and thus have required many years of careful observation to detect.

See the official press release for a great summary, and check out the brilliant photos and the 13MB QuickTime movie.  You can also read additional details and see a couple of graphs showing the seasons on the UW-Madison SSEC’s web site (note its dateline is a mistake; it should read 2003, not 2002).

Read the media coverage on Reuters or in this brief article in Scientific American. And if you want to learn all about Neptune’s seasons, you can watch two one-hour lectures by Dr. Sromovsky on the Atmospheric Dynamics of Neptune, which he gave on April 2 (viewable with RealOne, QuickTime, or Windows Media Player).

4 thoughts on “Neptune Has Regular, 41-Earth-Year-Long Seasons”

  1. Scientific American also has an excellent article this month on the surface of Mars; the high resolution imagery from the latest orbiters shows layering and structure far beyond what Earth-bound observers had generally assumed. The more we learn about the other planets in our solar system, the more fascinating they seem, and the more questions seem to be raised about how they developed and how they are working now.

  2. A nice, simply presented story that sums up the relevant facts in an easy to read manner, as well as providing lotsa links for more detail. More like this will, I’m sure, be welcome :)

  3. Indeed, Bob, I almost wept with joy coming in on Monday morning and not having to immediately write a story because THERE WAS ONE (ACTUALLY TWO!) IN THE SUBMISSION HOPPER!!! I played around some on the site navigation links instead. Stay tuned, more changes (and stories, of course) coming…

  4. Thanks, Alan and Ricky, I’m glad you liked the story!

    UW-Madison just happens to be my alma mater, which made finding all the links a breeze. There usually are reasonably-interesting scientific discoveries coming out of there every couple weeks or so, which I’ll definitely try to cover. In the future, I actually may be able to post a few days before the major news outlets get wind of them (by watching the appropriate departmental press releases). And hopefully I’ll have the time to cover other stories as well.

    BTW, I’m quite glad I found Sci-Fi Today; not only does it already have a lot of great content, I really see it as having a lot of potential.

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