Neptune (Myths and Legends of the World)
In Roman mythology, Neptune was an early Italian water who became identified with the Greek god Poseidon after about 400 B.C. Unlike Poseidon, who appeared in many Greek myths and legends, Neptune played a relatively minor role in Roman mythology In ancient Roman art, he is generally shown holding a trident,three-pronged spear, similar to a pitchfork a traditional weapon of fishermen in the Mediterranean region.
Possibly called Nethunus by the Etruscans of ancient Italy, the early Neptune was linked to freshwater rivers, lakes, and springs. After identification with Poseidon, he also became the god of the sea. His wife, Salacia, a goddess of springwater, became associated with Amphitrite, the wife of Poseidon and queen of the sea.
The ancient Romans held an annual festival to honor Neptune in July, a time when the hot, dry weather of Italy made water scarce. The purpose of the festival was probably to appease the god and help ensure that water would soon be abundant again. Closely associated with horses, as was Poseidon, Neptune may also have been worshiped by the Romans as a god of horses and of horse racing.
See also POSEIDON; ROMAN MYTHOLOGY.
(The entire section is 206 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!
Neptune (Encyclopedia of Science)
Neptune, the eighth planet away from the Sun, was discovered in 1846 by German astronomer Johann Galle, who based his finding on the mathematical predictions of French astronomer Urbain Le Verrier and English astronomer John Couch Adams. Because Neptune is so far way from the Sunbout 2.8 billion miles (4.5 billion kilometers)t is difficult to observe. Very little was known about it until fairly recently. In August 1989, the U.S. space probe Voyager 2 flew by Neptune, finally providing some answers about this mysterious, beautiful globe.
Neptune is a large planet, with a mass 17 times that of Earth. The diameter at its equator is roughly 30,700 miles (49,400 kilometers). Neptune spins slightly faster than Earthts day is equal to just over 19 Earth hours. It completes one revolution around the Sun in about 165 Earth years.
Since it is the color of water, Neptune was named for the Roman god of the sea. Its blue-green color, however, is due to methane gas. The thick outer atmospheric layer of hydrogen, helium, and methane is extremely cold: 50°F (12°C). Below the atmosphere lies an ocean of ionized (electrically charged) water, ammonia, and methane ice. Underneath the ocean, which reaches thousands of miles in depth, is a rocky iron core.
(The entire section is 721 words.)