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This is an image of Neptune, and shows the Great Dark Spot.
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NASA

A Look at Neptune's Clouds

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 Dark Spot is the largest of the cloud patterns on Neptune. There are also clouds which are similar to recognizable Earth clouds. The clouds are found low in the atmosphere of Neptune.

The atmosphere of Neptune is mostly made of a complex molecule called methane.

Hazes of smog on Neptune, made of methane and other, even more complex molecules, are to be found very high up, above the clouds of Neptune.


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Neptune's Cirrus Clouds

This image shows some clouds known as "cirrus" clouds, extending for many kilometers across the face of Neptune. These clouds are very high up, for they can be seen to cast shadows on the lower clouds,...more

Neptune's Smog Hazes

This image of Neptune uses false colors to show where the smog is. The smog of Neptune can be seen in red along the edge of the image. This smog haze is found very high up in the atmosphere, over the clouds...more

An Overview of Neptune's Atmosphere

Neptune's atmosphere shows a striped pattern of clouds, just like that of Jupiter and Saturn. Neptune even has a Great Dark Spot similar to the Great Red Spot of Jupiter. The history of Neptune's atmosphere...more

Motions in Neptune's Interior, part 2

Motions in the interior of a gas-giant planet such as Neptune may be very different from the motions within the Earth. A second idea for the motions in the interior of a gas-giant planet is shown in this...more

Neptune's Present Great Dark Spot

This image shows the new Great Dark Spot of Neptune, which was discovered using the Hubble Space Telescope. The image shown here, shows a large "hole" in the clouds of Neptune in pink, in the northern...more

A Look at the History of Neptune's Atmosphere

The giant planets have definitely changed since their formation. But how much remains to be seen. Most of the original air of the giant planets remains in place. (The earth-like planets lost most of their...more

A Look at Neptune's Clouds

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

How the Solar System may have formed from a spinning cloud

Scientists think that the solar system formed out of a spinning cloud of hydrogen and helium molecules. Because the cloud was spinning, it flattened into a frisbee shape, just like a ball of pizza dough...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF