This is an image of Neptune.
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An Overview of Neptune's Atmospheric Evolution
Atmospheres of the giant planets have definitely evolved from their formation
out of the primitive solar nebula. How much they have evolved remains to be seen, however. Because of their enormous gravity, most of the original atmosphere of the planet remains in place
. (The terrestrial planets lost all of the original atmosphere they were made with, because the atmosphere drifted away).
Unlike Jupiter or Saturn, which are made primarily of basic materials hydrogen and helium, Neptune is made mostly of icy material, the solid form of complex molecules such as methane, ethane, and water. The reason for this is because the nebula itself influenced the kind of material which formed near Neptune.
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This image shows the new Great Dark Spot of Neptune, which was discovered using the Hubble Space Telescope. The image shown here, shows a "hole" in the clouds of Neptune in pink, in the northern hemisphere,...more
Atmospheres of the giant planets have definitely evolved from their formation out of the primitive solar nebula. How much they have evolved remains to be seen, however. Because of their enormous gravity,...more
This image shows some cirrus clouds, extending for many kilometers across the disc of Neptune. These clouds are somewhat high up, for they can be seen to cast shadows on the lower clouddeck, which is 35...more
This image of Neptune uses false colors to bring out the hazes of smog, which can be seen in red along the limb of Neptune, at the edge of the picture. These hazes of smog are found at very high altitudes,...more
Like Jupiter and all the giant planets, Neptune's appearance shows a striped pattern of clouds. Other cloud shapes seen over time include a small dark spot, the "scooter" and the Great Dark Spot. The Great...more
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If you had a quiz question in school that asked what year Neptune was discovered, you'd probably choose 1846. But Neptune wasn't discovered the way all the other planets in our solar system were. Astronomers...more