Neptune’s dynamic atmosphere

Neptune’s dynamic atmosphere

. White clouds lie above the swirling Great Dark Spot (right center), and raging winds reach speeds of 300 meters per second, creating a global banding in the atmosphere of Neptune. The faint sunlight at Neptune’s great distance cannot provide the energy of such winds; they are probably energized by heat from the interior of the planet. This image was sent from the Voyager 2 spacecraft on 14 August 1989, after a 12-year journey to the planet, using a 20-watt transmitter with less power than an ordinary light bulb. Traveling at the speed of light, the signals took more than 4 hours to reach Earth. (Courtesy of NASA and JPL.)

Copyright 2010, Professor Kenneth R. Lang, Tufts University