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With Explore the Planets, investigate the planets, their moons, and understand the processes that shape them. By G. Jeffrey Taylor, Ph.D. See our DVD collection.
This is an image of Neptune's Great Dark Spot of 1989.
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NASA

Neptune's Great Dark Spot of 1989

The Great Dark Spot of Neptune is thought to be a hole in the methane clouds of Neptune. The white clouds shown in the picture are above the "hole". In many images of Neptune, the Great Dark Spot can be seen to change size and shape.

The Great Red Spot of Jupiter is thought to be a hurricane which has been raging on Jupiter for at least 400 years. The Great Dark Spot, seen here by Voyager in 1989, disappeared in 1994, and was replaced very soon by a similar "Spot" in the north instead of in the south.


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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 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

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

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

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

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

Discover Neptune

Neptune was discovered in 1846. But it wasn't discovered using a telescope. Scientists used math instead! They watched Uranus and saw that its orbit was doing weird things. They knew another planet had...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