Tomorrow – July 12th – as the BBC has reported, it will be exactly one year since the planet Neptune was discovered. One year, being one Neptunian year or 164.79 of our years. Yes it was discovered on 24th September 1846 by Galle at the Berlin Observatory following Le Verrier’s calculations.
What’s so important about this planet’s discovery?
Well it was the first celestial object to be predicted before it was observed. The maths behind the prediction was new and untried at the time. Because it was so new, it courted controversy. John Couch-Adams (a Cornishman by the way) had been the first to predict Neptune, but he could get nobody to take him seriously in this country until it was too late. Otherwise Neptune’s discovery would have been a totally British affair. (I wish the BBC would make a documentary about this – it’s a fascinating story in itself.)
I must admit I have a fondness for this particular planet. Apart from from it being the setting of my short story, Life Sentence, its system is of course where C.A.T. is hiding. Yes, that is the planet on the cover of the short story… see below.
For the C.A.T. lovers amongst you… yes I’m working on a follow-on story… please be patient… C.A.T.’s had a terrible time of it and only now can talk about it…