This Day in History – September 23rd, 1846

NeptuneNeptune, named after the Roman god of the sea, was the first planet found by mathematical prediction rather than by empirical observation. Unexpected changes in the orbit of Uranus led Alexis Bouvard to deduce that its orbit was subject togravitational perturbation by an unknown planet. Neptune was subsequently observed on September 23rd, 1846 by Johann Galle within a degree of the position predicted by Urbain Le Verrier, and its largest moon, Triton, was discovered shortly thereafter, though none of the planet’s remaining 13 moons were located telescopically until the 20th century. Neptune has been visited by one spacecraft, Voyager 2, which flew by the planet on 25 August 1989.

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