Voyager 2 and the eight pixels

NeptuneFrom within 500 million miles, cameras aboard NASA’s Voyager 2 unmanned space probe can now get a better look at planet Neptune than is possible with ground-based telescopes on Earth – even though, at present, that means a tiny disk only eight pixels across in images measuring 800 x 800 pixels. Voyager 2 is still over a year away from its closest encounter with Neptune, and even its own best photos don’t reveal any detail in the blue-green planet’s atmosphere. What is known is that, despite receiving less than half the sunlight and heat of the next innermost planet, Uranus, Neptune maintains the same temperature as Uranus. This means that Neptune is generating more heat than it receives from the sun.