My Notes, From A Ravenclaw (Year 1)

written by Anne Pickering

These are my notes for all classes through year 1. There are 7 course in the first year. Charms, History of Magic, Herbology, Potions, Transfiguration, DADA, and Astronomy. I will add as I am able. Please check back for new content.

Please keep in mind, these are only major points and not to be substituted for the actual lessons!

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Astr 101 Week 8

Chapter 56

Neptune, and one of the dwarf planets, Pluto

Neptune, as it is the eighth planet from the Sun. It is about 30 AU from
the Sun. This planet was found through mathematical predictions rather
than telescopic observations. Neptune has an appearance quite like
Uranus, but it is much more darker in contrast. The planet is blue, with
darker and lighter lines streaking across the planet. 

This planet is also an ice giant, similar to Uranus, but is still a gas giant. 

One day on Neptune is about 16 hours. However, one year on Neptune is approximately 165 Earth years

Neptune has 13 moons that are known. However, Neptune also has a moon
that may exist, but awaits confirmation from Muggle scientists. All of
these moons were named after the many sea gods and nymphs. The names are
all also in their Greek form, rather than their Roman form. The moon
that we will study in depth this week is Triton. Triton was discovered
in 1846. It is the largest moon of Neptune. This particular moon rotates
in a retrograde fashion, spinning the other way as the planet. An
interesting feature about this moon is that it has geysers on it,
spewing icy material.

Neptune has an atmosphere, like all of
the other seven planets that we have studied thus far. It is
predominantly made up of hydrogen and helium, with some methane. This
methane creates the bluish color of Neptune. You may recall from lesson 7
that the coloration of Uranus also comes from methane. This is indeed
true. However, no one knows for sure either in our world or in the
Muggle world why Neptune has a brighter color blue than Uranus. As you
get further to the surface of the planet, it becomes watery and as you
get closer to the massive core, you can find melted ice sitting right on
top of it!

An important surface feature to take note of is
the Great Dark Spot on Neptune. It is a storm, like the Great Red Spot
on Jupiter. However, we do not know for sure if it is like a hurricane
on Earth. The Great Dark Spot is about the size of Earth that spins
counterclockwise. Not much else is known about this storm.

has rings! Neptune has six rings at this time. However, these six rings
are not in uniform with one another, but they form four regions called
arcs. Neptune’s rings are made up of dust, which is most likely why you
cannot see the rings even from a telescopic view. These rings were
spotted by the same spacecraft that went to Uranus - Voyager 2.


take note that we are discussing the planet Pluto, not the Disney
character Pluto that the Muggles have invented for amusement. This is
Astronomy class, must I remind you all that as well?)

Pluto is
a dwarf planet, not an actual planet. It was named a dwarf planet
almost two years ago by the Muggle organization called NASA (National
Aeronautics and Space Administration). Pluto is located about 39.5 AU
from the Sun. It was discovered in 1930 by accident by the astronomer
Clyde Tombaugh. No spacecraft has visited the dwarf planet yet, but
Muggle scientists have just recently sent one, and is bound to reach the
planet in 2015 (assuming that everything goes well).

orbit of this peculiar planet is very different from the others. Pluto
orbits the Sun, like all of the other known planets, but its orbit
crosses paths with Neptune. Also, the planet orbits in a retrograde
fashion. In previous lessons, we have learned that Venus and Uranus
rotate in a retrograde fashion. However, Pluto orbits, or revolves, in a
retrograde fashion. Please try not to mix these up, as the result might
be disastrous (to your grade).

Pluto is made up of rock and
ice, but primarily rock. The planet’s atmosphere is made up of nitrogen,
carbon monoxide, and methane.

Pluto has a moon of its own
named Charon. Discovered in 1978, Charon was named after the
mythological character who took people across the River Acheron to the
Underworld. It is also believed to have formed in the same way that
Earth has - by a huge astronomical object hitting the surface of the
Earth and debris flying off of Earth to create its moon.

Not much other information is known about the planet, due to the fact that the spacecraft has not reached Pluto yet.

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