Hubble has discovered a mysterious dark storm on Neptune

Space										
		
																	What is this weird stuff all over Uranus?					
								
			
	
		Mike Wehner			@MikeWehner					Februar

The telescope regularly checks in on the two outer planets to see what's happening in their atmospheres, and last autumn, Hubble captured incredible images of clouds on both worlds.

During a routine sweep of the outer solar system, the Hubble Space Telescope caught a new and mysterious "dark vortex" in the clouds of Neptune, according to NASA.

Every year, the Hubble space telescope takes photos of the solar system's gas giants as part of a programme to help better understand the four planets.

It's unclear how these storms form, NASA said.

"It's a spectacular example of seasonal change on this ice giant, with the aerosol cap evolving as spring becomes summer".

The other two are a dark storm was discovered by the spacecraft Voyager 2 in 1989, when he was flying past a distant planet. The dark vortex, which spans approximately 6,800 miles, was located next to bright white "companion clouds", which form when the flow of ambient air is diverted upward over the dark vortex and causes gases to freeze into methane ice crystals.

Leigh Fletcher, an astronomer at the University of Leicester said, "The November 2018 image of Uranus occurs at a time 10 years after the equinox, when the northern hemisphere was just emerging into spring sunlight after spending decades in polar winter".

In 2016, NASA spotted some more white clouds than usual in a region.

The agency added: "Just as meteorologists can not predict the weather on Earth by studying a few snapshots, astronomers can not track atmospheric trends on solar system planets without regularly repeated observations". Now the gas giant's strongest storm, which also holds the record for the longest storm of this type, is the Great Red Spot, which scientists believe has raged for at least 400 years.

"The images indicate that the vortices probably develop deeper in Neptune's atmosphere, becoming visible only when the top of the storm reaches higher altitudes", NASA and STScI said in their releases.

This image, taken by Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3), reveals a vast bright stormy cloud cap across the north pole of Uranus.

The space observatory also got a fresh look at a "giant polar cap" storm on Uranus that is swirling around the planet's North Pole. Scientists say this feature is attributed to Uranus' distinctive rotation, which causes it to have an extreme tilt.

'Because of this extreme tilt, during the planet's summer the Sun shines nearly directly onto the north pole and never sets.

Like the Earth, Uranus and Neptune have seasons, which have their own characteristics.

"A narrow cloud band encircles the planet north of the equator".

Ice giants Uranus and Neptune have water-rich interiors covered with hydrogen, helium, and methane, the last of which gives these external planets their particular cyan complexion.

Like Neptune, Uranus is extremely far away.

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