Today’s Anniversary: Galileo (Sort Of) Discovers Neptune

It's December 28, and 400 years ago today, Galileo saw the planet Neptune in the sky for the first time.  Before we give Galileo too much credit, though, we have to point out that he was mistaken when he identified Neptune as a giant star instead of a planet.  Neptune wouldn't be discovered formally until 1846 when Urbain Le Verrier (or maybe John Couch Adams or Johann Galle) saw it and correctly identified it as a planet.  For years, Neptune was the eighth of nine planets in our solar system, but when Pluto was reclassified as a dwarf planet, Neptune became the farthest planet from the sun.  Just how far from the sun is Neptune?  How about 4.5 billion kilometers.  That's so far that it takes Neptune 165 years to make one complete orbit around the sun.  Contrast that to Earth, which takes 365 days (or, in 2012, 366 days) to complete its orbit.  We're coming to the end of one of Earth's cycles around the sun, and at this time of the year, people look back on the past year and set goals or make resolutions for the upcoming year.  If earning your high school diploma was one of your goals for 2012, you have four days to enroll and get started.  Perhaps you'll make your education a resolution for 2013.  Either way, the American School will have out-of-this-world courses waiting for you when you become our student