Full View of Neptune
These four images of Neptune were taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope during the planet's 16-hour rotation. The snapshots were taken at roughly four-hour intervals, offering a full view of the blue-green planet. The Hubble images, taken with the Wide Field Camera 3 on June 25-26, reveal high-altitude clouds in the northern and southern hemispheres. The clouds are composed of methane ice crystals. In the Hubble images, absorption of red light by methane in Neptune's atmosphere gives the planet its distinctive aqua color. The clouds look pink because they are reflecting near-infrared light. A faint, dark band near the bottom of the southern hemisphere is probably caused by a decrease in the hazes in the atmosphere that scatter blue light.
Image Number: STscl-PRC2011-19
Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
For print or commercial use, please contact: Hubble Heritage Team