Neptune is more interesting than you think

Neptune – which these weeks lies at its brightest and closest of the year – is an amazing place. Give me a chance to prove it.

Neptune is an enormous blue ball 58 times larger than Earth by volume. The only planet that cannot be seen with the naked eye, it lurks among the sprawling hallucinogenic pattern that is Aquarius. It’s highest at midnight, halfway up the southern sky. But we really should start this story at the beginning.

In 1845, the French astronomer Urbain Le Verrier realized that Uranus, discovered 60 years earlier, was not moving in a normal way . . .

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