To celebrate the first complete orbit of the planet Neptue since its discovery in 1846, the Hubble Space Telescope took a series of images with the Wide Field Camera 3, showing the different faces of the planet as it rotates on its axis. The images were take on June 25-26, 2011.
Even with a telescope as powerful as Hubble, the planet still appears fairly small, but some details are visible. While its blue color is the most distinctive feature, the turbulent conditions in the planet’s atmosphere also show up. Neptune’s thick atmosphere is largely made up of hydrogen and helium and is thought to host the Solar System’s most furious storms, with winds of up to 2000 km/h.
Nancy Atkinson is currently Universe Today’s Contributing Editor. Previously she served as UT’s Senior Editor and lead writer, and has worked with Astronomy Cast and 365 Days of Astronomy. Nancy is the author of the new book “Incredible Stories from Space: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Missions Changing Our View of the Cosmos.” She is also a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.