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Changing Solar System

Above and Beyond: Neptune’s Clouds

Neptune was experiencing a rash of clouds when the Hubble Space Telescope turned its attention to the distant planet in June, 2011. 
Credits

 
Our Dynamic Solar System
 
 
Produced by the Space Telescope Science Institute’s Office of Public Outreach.
 
All images, illustrations, and videos courtesy of NASA, ESA, and STScI except:
 
·       Amateur image of 2009 impact site on Jupiter courtesy of Anthony Wesley
·       Gemini North Telescope image of 2009 impact site on Jupiter courtesy of Imke de Pater (UC Berkeley), Heidi B. Hammel (Space Science Institute), Travis Rector (University of Alaska Anchorage), Gemini Observatory/AURA
·       Taurus constellation drawing from Firmamentum Sobiescianum sive Uranographia by Johannes Hevelius, courtesy of the United States Naval Observatory
·       1879 photo of Jupiter and Great Red Spot from A Popular History of Astronomy during the Nineteenth Century by Agnes M. Clerk (1885)
·       2014 image of Jupiter and Great Red Spot courtesy of Damian Peach
·       Infrared images of Uranus from Keck Observatory courtesy of Imke de Pater (UC Berkeley)/Keck Observatory
·       Animation showing axial tilts of solar system planets courtesy of Steven Sanders, Eastern University
·       Animation comparing axial tilts of Earth and Uranus courtesy of Steven Sanders, Eastern University
 
 
Written by Vanessa Thomas
Designed by Marc Lussier
Music courtesy of Associated Production Music
 
 
Transcript

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 Neptune rotates in space. White clouds drift over its blue surface. 

Text, NEPTUNE. ARTIST COMPOSITE OF HUBBLE OBSERVATIONS. Neptune was experiencing a rash of clouds when the Hubble Space Telescope turned its attention to the distant planet in June, 2011. The high-altitude clouds, colored pink here, are made of methane ice crystals. 

A pink cloud drifts across the north pole. 

Text, A few years earlier, Neptune had fewer clouds, with most in the southern hemisphere 

Hubble's observations showed that Neptune's northern hemisphere was getting cloudier as winter arrived there.