13. Neptune has the strongest winds in the solar system, with speeds exceeding 1,100 miles per hour.
Details from NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft made the first and only close-up observations of Neptune. The detailed images showed bright, white clouds and two storms that were ravaging the planet’s atmosphere. Neptune is a gas giant that is composed primarily of hydrogen and helium. Methane gas makes up only one or two percent of the atmosphere. On Earth, the sun’s energy is what drives the winds. However, Neptune is about 30 times farther away from the sun than we are. The gap between Neptune and its parent star is a shocking two billion miles wide. With that information, you might assume that the planet should have weak or nonexistent winds. However, the opposite is that reality reflects on the mysterious composition of this truly alien planet.
The significant components of Neptune are heavier elements. Beneath a sparse outer layer of helium, hydrogen, and methane, Neptune has a thick mantle. This layer is loaded with slushy ice and a combination of ammonia and methane. Neptune, similar to Jupiter and Saturn, emits more energy than it receives from the sun. Even with that taken into consideration, Neptune is considered the solar system’s coldest planet. In addition to its incredible winds, Neptune is home to many storms that appear in darker regions. The storms, such as the Great Dark Spot, can grow larger than planet Earth. They can also last years to a decade.