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Neptune



Neptune
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 8 to 10
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   8.39

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    best, methane, brightness, mathematician, composition, discovery, calculate, originate, precise, spacecraft, mathematical, helium, core, knowledge, theory, predict
     content words:    Neptune Math, In England, John Couch Adams, In France, Urbain Leverrier, Johann Galle, Heinrich D'Arrest, Neptune Chemistry


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Neptune
By Sharon Fabian
  

1     The story of Neptune's discovery is a story about math and chemistry. Neptune was discovered because of the predictions of two mathematicians. Later, Voyager 2 gave us some clues as to Neptune's chemical makeup. Scientists have put all of these mathematical and chemical clues together to learn as much as they can about planet Neptune.
 
2     
Neptune Math

 
3     Â Â Â Â Â In the 1840s, astronomers were interested in the planet Uranus, the most recently discovered planet. Since it was so far away, one of the best ways they had to learn more details about Uranus was through math. Mathematicians were studying Uranus's orbit when they noticed something strange. Uranus didn't travel along its path at an even speed. It sped up sometimes, and sometimes it slowed down. What did this mean? What was causing Uranus to change its speed at certain times? The scientists had a theory. They thought the cause might be a pull from the gravity of another planet even farther out. In England, a mathematician named John Couch Adams worked on the problem. He was able to calculate Uranus's orbit and then predict where the gravitational pull should be coming from. In France another mathematician, Urbain Leverrier, studied the same problem and came up with a similar solution. Then two German astronomers, Johann Galle and Heinrich D'Arrest, began looking through their telescopes for the mystery planet. They used Adams's and Leverrier's calculations to tell them just where to look. This is how they discovered Neptune.

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