I'm Robert Massey and I'm here from the Royal Astronomical Society which is one of the biggest astronomical organizations in the world and we look after the interests of astronomers not just in the UK but across the world. What I'm going to do today is give you a few pointers to get you started in astronomy which I think is one of the most incredibly interesting subjects there is. Neptune is now officially the furthest planet from the sun. It really is the vastest away, about 30 times as far away from the sun as the Earth is. That makes it rather cold as well as you can well imagine. Now, this is a planet that was discovered through mathematics. Astronomers were watching Uranus go around the sun and they noticed that sometimes, it was being dragged back on its orbit and sometimes, it was being pulled ahead and they realized that there was an object further out that was affecting the way it moved, and two mathematicians, John Couch Adams in England and Urbain Le Verrier in France both predicted where Neptune would be. And in the end, it was the Berlin Observatory that first spotted the planet and the discovery was first credited to the French which was a bit of a scandal. Although these days, we would probably give both sides their due share. Now, Neptune, as it happens, had also been seen by Galileo right back in the beginning of the 17th century but he didn't realize it was a planet so he can't take the credit for his discovery. It's only once been visited by a space probe that was Voyager 2 right back in 1989. Voyager 2 found an exotic world, well so far away from the sun and you would imagine therefore inactive. It isn't like that at all. It actually has winds in its atmosphere of more than 2,000 kilometers an hour. So despite being a huge distance away, things don't come down when you get that far out. You've still got planets like Neptune and there's a lot going on there. It's every reason to want to study it again in the future just to understand what the conditions are like as we get towards the edge of the solar system. .
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