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The Windiest Planet
Dark, cold and whipped by supersonic winds, Neptune is the last of the hydrogen and helium gas giants in our solar system. More than 30 times as far from the sun as Earth, the planet takes almost 165 Earth years to orbit our sun. In 2011 Neptune completed its first orbit since its discovery in 1846.

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Today's Forecast: Windy, Wild and Weird
Neptune is our solar system's windiest world. Winds whip clouds of frozen methane across the planet at speeds of more than 2,000 km/h (1,200 mph) -- close to the top speed of a U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornet fighter jet. Earth's most powerful winds hit only about 400 km/h (250 mph).
Today's Forecast: Windy, Wild and Weird
No Need for Sunscreen
Neptune is so far from the sun that high noon on the big blue planet would seem like dim twilight to us. The warm light we see here on our home planet is roughly 900 times as bright as sunlight on Neptune.
No Need for Sunscreen
Who You Calling Little?
Even though Uranus and Neptune are much smaller than our solar system's two other giant gas planets, you could still pack nearly 60 Earths inside each. Some storms in Neptune's clouds are as big as the Earth.
Who You Calling Little?
Nowhere Land
Trying to land on Neptune is a really bad idea -- there's nothing to land on. Like the other three giant planets, it is a big ball of gas that gradually becomes hot liquid well below the clouds. Anyone foolish enough to drop below the cloud tops would be torn by intense winds, frozen by super cold temperatures and eventually smashed by the sheer weight of the atmosphere above, which, by the way, is poisonous to humans.
Nowhere Land
Singin' Those Methane Blues
Even though it is only a small part of the atmosphere, methane gas is what gives Neptune its blue hue. Methane absorbs red light, so when we look at Neptune, all we see is the blue that is not absorbed.
Singin' Those Methane Blues
Wrong Way Moon
Triton, Neptune's largest moon, has a weird, backward orbit that has it inching closer to Neptune each year. When the two finally collide, the moon will be shredded into beautiful rings that may rival those of Saturn. Don't wait up, though. The collision won't occur for another 10 million to 100 million years.
Wrong Way Moon
Long Time
Did you know that one year on Neptune is equal to about 165 Earth years? This fact makes Neptune the planet with the longest year. 165 Earth years is a long time, especially when we consider that the planet in second place for this title (Uranus) takes only about 84 Earth years to complete its year.
Long Time
Predicted Planet
The ice giant Neptune was the first planet to be located through mathematical predictions rather than through regular observations of the sky.
Predicted Planet
The Invisible World
Want to go outside and view the planets without a telescope? You can, but you won't see Neptune. Neptune is the only planet not visible to the naked eye. This is due to the planet's extreme distance from the Earth.
The Invisible World
Where'd It Go?
Similar to Jupiter, Neptune has storms that create gigantic spots in its atmosphere -- well, it did. When Voyager 2 flew past Neptune in 1989, it tracked and imaged the "Great Dark Spot" -- a storm larger than the entire Earth. When the Hubble Space Telescope imaged Neptune the spot had disappeared, only to be replaced with two smaller storms, which in turn also disappeared.
Where'd It Go?
Today's Forecast: Windy, Wild and Weird
Neptune is our solar system's windiest world. Winds whip clouds of frozen methane across the planet at speeds of more than 2,000 km/h (1,200 mph) -- close to the top speed of a U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornet fighter jet. Earth's most powerful winds hit only about 400 km/h (250 mph).
Today's Forecast: Windy, Wild and Weird
No Need for Sunscreen
Neptune is so far from the sun that high noon on the big blue planet would seem like dim twilight to us. The warm light we see here on our home planet is roughly 900 times as bright as sunlight on Neptune.
No Need for Sunscreen
Who You Calling Little?
Even though Uranus and Neptune are much smaller than our solar system's two other giant gas planets, you could still pack nearly 60 Earths inside each. Some storms in Neptune's clouds are as big as the Earth.
Who You Calling Little?
Nowhere Land
Trying to land on Neptune is a really bad idea -- there's nothing to land on. Like the other three giant planets, it is a big ball of gas that gradually becomes hot liquid well below the clouds. Anyone foolish enough to drop below the cloud tops would be torn by intense winds, frozen by super cold temperatures and eventually smashed by the sheer weight of the atmosphere above, which, by the way, is poisonous to humans.
Nowhere Land
Singin' Those Methane Blues
Even though it is only a small part of the atmosphere, methane gas is what gives Neptune its blue hue. Methane absorbs red light, so when we look at Neptune, all we see is the blue that is not absorbed.
Singin' Those Methane Blues
Wrong Way Moon
Triton, Neptune's largest moon, has a weird, backward orbit that has it inching closer to Neptune each year. When the two finally collide, the moon will be shredded into beautiful rings that may rival those of Saturn. Don't wait up, though. The collision won't occur for another 10 million to 100 million years.
Wrong Way Moon
Long Time
Did you know that one year on Neptune is equal to about 165 Earth years? This fact makes Neptune the planet with the longest year. 165 Earth years is a long time, especially when we consider that the planet in second place for this title (Uranus) takes only about 84 Earth years to complete its year.
Long Time
Predicted Planet
The ice giant Neptune was the first planet to be located through mathematical predictions rather than through regular observations of the sky.
Predicted Planet
The Invisible World
Want to go outside and view the planets without a telescope? You can, but you won't see Neptune. Neptune is the only planet not visible to the naked eye. This is due to the planet's extreme distance from the Earth.
The Invisible World
Where'd It Go?
Similar to Jupiter, Neptune has storms that create gigantic spots in its atmosphere -- well, it did. When Voyager 2 flew past Neptune in 1989, it tracked and imaged the "Great Dark Spot" -- a storm larger than the entire Earth. When the Hubble Space Telescope imaged Neptune the spot had disappeared, only to be replaced with two smaller storms, which in turn also disappeared.
Where'd It Go?