Global warming hits Neptune too
Yesterday on the show we discussed a news story detailing some unexplained warming on the planet Neptune. A recent issue of Geophysical Research Letters (surely you're a subscriber) revealed that Neptune has been getting warmer since 1980. Researchers are investigating whether increased output from the Sun might be the cause.Talk about inconvenient facts. First there was Earth, then Mars and now Neptune. This suggest that we should try to see if there is a pattern here on all the other planets, before we decide to turn the world upside down on Earth to prevent things that are out of our control. The globo warmers have come up with elaborate explanations for Earth (green house gases), and Mars (planet wobble and dust storms) so now it will be interesting to see what excuse they have for Neptune.
This warming of Neptune must be particularly distressing to Al Gore and the anti-capitalist global warming cabal out there. You see, there has been no recent build-up of greenhouse gasses on Neptune. No deforestation. No contrails from jets. No SUVs. Yet Neptune is warming.
During our conversation Royal opined that the reason might be that Neptune is getting warmer because its orbit is elliptical .. and that it is getting closer to the sun. Royal cited the fact that at some times Pluto's orbit is actually outside that of Neptune due to the odd orbit. Well, Royal was right ... about Pluto being outside of Neptune on occasion. But the reason is that it is Pluto's orbit, not Neptune's, that is elliptical. Here are your details from Wikipedia:
Neptune is about 30 times farther from the sun than the Earth is; it averages 30.06 A.U. from the sun. Occasionally, Neptune's orbit is actually outside that of Pluto; this is because of Pluto's highly eccentric (non-circular) orbit. During this time (20 years out of every 248 Earth years), Neptune is actually the farthest planet from the Sun (and not Pluto). From January 21, 1979 until February 11, 1999, Pluto was inside the orbit of Neptune. Now and until September 2226, Pluto is outside the orbit of Neptune.
Web Guy tells me we got a few emails yesterday telling me that I was an idiot because I didn't know that Neptune has an elliptical orbit. So ... just setting the record straight here.