In a first, the Hubble Space Telescope has beamed back pictures documenting the arrival of a giant Storm on Neptune, a finding that might discover insights on the interior workings of the poorly understood ice giant planets, NASA said. Like Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, Neptune’s Great Dark Spots are storms which form from regions of high atmospheric pressure. In contrast, storms on Earth form around regions of low pressure.
Scientists have seen a total of six shadowy spots on Neptune throughout the years. Voyager 2 identified two storms in 1989. Since Hubble launched in 1990, it’s viewed four of these storms, NASA said in a statement. Researchers analysed Hubble’s images of the ice giant taken over the past several decades and chronicled the Growth of a brand new Great Dark Spot that became visible in 2018.
By studying companion clouds which turned up 2 years before the new Great Dark Spot, the researchers Conclude dark spots originate much deeper in Neptune’s atmosphere than previously thought. The Hubble images also helped the researchers pinpoint how oen Neptune gets dark stains and how long they last. The findings not only give scientists insights on the inner workings of the ice giant planets but additionally have
Implications for studying exoplanets of comparable size and composition.”If you study the exoplanets and you would like to understand how they work, you need to understand our Planets first,” explained Amy Simon, a planetary researcher at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in the United States. “we have so little advice on Uranus and Neptune,” said Simon, lead author of the study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. Scientists first saw a Fantastic Dark Spot on Neptune in 1989, when NASA’s Voyager 2 probe flew past the mysterious blue planet. As the spacecra zoomed by, it snapped images of two giant storms brewing in Neptune’s southern hemisphere Scientists dubbed the storms”The Great Dark Spot” and”Black Position 2.”
Only five years after, the Hubble Space Telescope took sharp pictures of Neptune that demonstrated the Earth-sized Great Dark Spot and the Dark Dark Position 2 had disappeared. A brand new Great Dark Spot appeared on Neptune in 2018, almost equivalent in size and shape to the one Voyager saw in 1989. Researchers were analysing Hubble pictures of a smaller dark spot that appeared in 2015 when they found Little, bright white clouds in the region where the 2018 Great Dark Spot would afterwards appear.
“We were so busy tracking this smaller storm from 2015, that we weren’t necessarily anticipating to see another large One so soon,” Simon said. The high-altitude clouds are made up of methane ice crystals, which give them their characteristic bright white Colour. Scientists suspect these methane clouds accompany the storms which form dark stains, hovering over them the way lenticular clouds cap tall mountains on Earth.