Neptune's dynamic atmosphere


. After a journey of 12 years and 7 trillion (7 x 1012) meters, the Voyager 2 spacecraft captured this view of Neptune's Great Dark Spot (left center), accompanied by bright, white clouds that undergo rapid changes in appearance. The spot is as large as the Earth and about one third the diameter of the Great Red Spot of Jupiter. Another, smaller dark feature (bottom center) has a bright core. Internal heat drives strong winds on Neptune, moving at speed of up to 450 meters per second. The Voyager 2 images were sent by a small 20-watt transmitter. Traveling at the speed of light the radio signals took more than 4 hours to reach Earth. (Courtesy of JPL and NASA.)

Copyright 2010, Professor Kenneth R. Lang, Tufts University