Discovery of Neptune - Wikipedia
Neptune will appear opposite the sun in the sky tomorrow (Aug. 29), but who truly discovered the planet? Read about the complicated cosmic. I recently read an article (link now expired on Yahoo Entertainment News) that I found initially disturbing, but after reading the information on. The planet Neptune – now considered by most astronomers to be the outermost major planet in our solar system – was discovered on this date.
Galle received Le Verrier's letter on 23 September and immediately set to work observing in the region suggested by Le Verrier. Galle's student, Heinrich Louis d'Arrestsuggested that a recently drawn chart of the sky, in the region of Le Verrier's predicted location, could be compared with the current sky to seek the displacement characteristic of a planetas opposed to a stationary star.
Neptune was discovered just after midnight,  after less than an hour of searching and less than 1 degree from the position Le Verrier had predicted, a remarkable match.
After two further nights of observations in which its position and movement were verified, Galle replied to Le Verrier with astonishment: The discovery telescope was an equatorial mounted achromatic refractor by Joseph Fraunhofer 's firm Merz und Mahler.
Airy, at length, published an account of the circumstances, and Adams's memoir was printed as an appendix to the Nautical Almanac. There was much criticism of Airy in England.
Adams was a diffident young man who was naturally reluctant to publish a result that would establish or ruin his career. Airy and Challis were criticised, particularly by James Glaisher as failing to exercise their proper role as mentors of a young talent.
Challis was contrite but Airy defended his own behaviour, claiming that the search for a planet was not the role of the Greenwich Observatory. On the whole, Airy has been defended by his biographers.
I mention these dates merely to show that my results were arrived at independently, and previously to the publication of those of M. Galle, so that the facts stated above cannot detract, in the slightest degree, from the credit due to M. Further, it was suggested that they both succeeded in getting the longitude almost right only because of a "fluke of orbital timing".
This criticism was discussed in detail by Danjon  who illustrated with a diagram and discussion that while hypothetical orbits calculated by both LeVerrier and Adams for the new planet were indeed of very different size on the whole from that of the real Neptune and actually similar to each otherthey were both much closer to the real Neptune over that crucial segment of orbit covering the interval of years for which the observations and calculations were made, than they were for the rest of the calculated orbits.
Exploration of Neptune
So the fact that both the calculators used a much larger orbital major axis than the reality was shown to be not so important, and not the most relevant parameter. Its mathematical prediction was a great intellectual feat, but it showed also that Newton's law of gravitation, which Airy had almost called in question, prevailed even at the limits of the solar system.
The date was Sept. This led to a drawn out battle between French and English astronomers as to who pointed to Neptune first; in the end, a three-way tie was declared and Adams, Le Verrier, and Galle share the honor of discovering Neptune. Ironically, Galle was not the first person to observe Neptune. That honor goes to none other than Galileo Galilei, who twice observed Neptune but mistook it for a star, on Dec. Galileo had two strikes against him: For nearly a century Neptune was the planet farthest from the sun, only losing that honor when tiny Pluto was discovered by Clyde Tombaugh in Now that the International Astronomical Union has downgraded Pluto?
While Uranus can just be glimpsed with the naked eye under perfect dark sky conditions, Neptune requires binoculars or a small telescope to be seen. Finding Neptune now For somewhat seasoned backyard astronomers, this Neptune map can help to locate the planet. The two stars at the left end of the triangle point the way to Neptune, just a little bit short of and above the star Iota in the neighboring constellation Aquarius.
In a small telescope, Neptune will look just like a star; what gives it away is its distinctive blue-green color. However, I am curious as to whether the article I read carries any merit whatsoever. Piers Van der Meer an established astrophysicist? Is the European Space Agency a respectable organization? Do they have some sort of hidden agenda for promoting such an astonishing theory?
When was Neptune discovered? | Cool Cosmos
Essentially, do these people know what they're talking about? I hadn't seen this article before, so thanks for bringing it to my attention. You're right to be skeptical, for several reasons! First, the sun is too small to ever go supernova, so the basic premise of the article is incorrect. There just isn't enough mass in our sun to cause it to explode and collapse to form a neutron star or black hole.
Also, I haven't been able to find out any information on this guy "Dr. Piers Van der Meer". Even beginning graduate students will show up in the records because they've usually been to at least one conference, and as soon as you have a couple papers about your research it's easy to find out what you're doing and where you work. But this person doesn't show up in the system at all!