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10 Weirdest Facts About the Solar System


In Brief

The solar system is a bizarre place with its alien planets, mysterious moons and strange phenomena that are so out-of-this-world they elude explanation. Scientists have discovered ice-spewing volcanoes on Pluto, while Mars is home to a truly "grand" canyon the size of the United States. There may even be a giant, undiscovered planet lurking somewhere beyond Neptune. Read on to find out some of the strangest facts about planets, dwarf planets, comets and other incredible objects around the solar system.

1. Neptune has the strongest winds in the Solar System. They blow at a speed of 2,100 kilometers per hour (1,305 miles per hour).

Neptune’s weather is extremely stormy with winds reaching supersonic speeds. Strangely, the winds generally flow in a direction opposite to that of the planet’s rotation, at high latitudes, but flow in the same direction of the planet’s rotation at lower latitudes. The difference is due to what is called the “skin effect,” the tendency of currents to flow only on the outer layers. Also, not being completely solid, Neptune undergoes differential rotation, that is its rotation at the equator takes 18 hours while its magnetic field takes 16 hours and its poles take 12 hours. It has the most pronounced differential rotation in the Solar System which also results in strong latitudinal wind shears.