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The Sound of Science - 'Neptune'

KC: Hello listeners! Welcome to the Sound of Science on WNIJ. I’m NAME from NIU STEAM and I’m joined by fellow STEAM Team member NAME. 

ANN: Today we’ve got a question from our listener Kaden S. Kaden wants to know “Why is Neptune so cold?” 

KC: I can only assume Kaden means the planet Neptune and not the Neptune Residence Hall, since this is a show about science and The Neptune Residence Hall is home to the forever-toasty-and-cozy Fireplace Lounge.

ANN: I’d say you’re spot on there. 

KC: With that in mind I’m excited to say Kaden’s question has a simple and easy answer. 

ANN: Right it does. Neptune is so cold because…

KC & ANN: It’s far away from the sun!  

KC: That’s it, you can play the outro now. 

ANN: We’re kidding of course. While Neptune may be the planet farthest from the sun, and that distance does play a part as to why it’s so cold, there are other factors that contribute to just how chilly Neptune can get. 

KC: For example, Neptune is a type of planet called an ice giant, meaning that the planet mostly consists of elements heavier than hydrogen and helium. 

ANN: These elements create a majority of Neptune’s mass in the form of a dense and “icy” fluid. 

KC: Neptune also experiences seasons due to its heavy tilt. Although, 1 year on Neptune is equal to about 165 years on Earth. Because Neptune experiences seasons, part of the planet can be significantly warmer than the rest of the planet. 

ANN: In some cases, scientists have recorded a fifty-degree difference between the planet’s North and South poles. 

KC: And finally, Neptune is so cold because it’s blue and blue things are always cold.

ANN: You might want to check your science on that one. 

KC: Yeah, it sounded wrong when I said. Maybe don’t listen to that last part. 

ANN: With that sage wisdom in mind, we hope you enjoyed The Sound of Science on WNIJ. 

KC: Where you learn something new every day. 

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