Like on Earth, Uranus and Neptune havethe turnover of seasons, which planetologists believe is supposed to determine some features of their atmosphere. However, the seasons on these planets last much longer than on Earth, stretching for decades. The NASA Hubble Space Telescope during the next observation of these gas giants made several photographs, in which very interesting atmospheric phenomena are clearly observed. Neptune (on the right in the photo above) has a mysterious dark storm, whose causes of appearance are still unclear, Uranus (on the left in the photo) has a huge hurricane.
Currently in the Northern Hemisphere of Neptuneraging mysterious dark storm. It usually begins when the summer season is on the southern hemisphere of the planet. Hubble’s observations of this mysterious phenomenon have become the fourth since 1993. The images of the first two dark hurricanes of Neptune were obtained by the interplanetary probe "Voyager-2" in 1989, when the device flew past the planet. Hubble is currently the only sufficiently sensitive telescope capable of viewing these weather conditions on Neptune.
According to data from scientists from CaliforniaUniversity of Berkeley, the darkening of the atmosphere on the planet are observed every 4-6 years at different heights and disappear approximately every 2 years. The last such storm in the northern hemisphere of the planet Hubble discovered in September 2018. Its diameter was about 11,000 kilometers.
In the resulting photo on the right side of the darkStorms clearly visible bright white "side clouds". The Hubble telescope observed similar formations during previous storms. According to NASA astronomers, these clouds are formed when the atmospheric flows of the surrounding space are discharged up along the dark vortex, which causes the methane particles contained in them to freeze. Researchers note that similar clouds (just not from methane) can appear on Earth. They are called lenticular. On our planet, this is a rather rare phenomenon, most often observed over mountains, which is another mystery for researchers, since Neptune does not have a solid surface. The long, thin cloud on the left side of a dark storm is a temporary atmospheric formation that is not related to this storm system, according to NASA's website.
Causes of a dark storm in the atmosphereNeptune is still unknown to scientists, but, like Jupiter’s Great Red Spot (the largest atmospheric vortex in the Solar System), Neptune’s dark vortex rotates counterclockwise (creating an anticyclone region) and, apparently, raises the lower atmospheric layers of the planet.
Data for 2016, obtained by Hubble duringobservations of the planet indicate that the appearance of the Neptune's whirlwind was preceded by an increased growth of cloudiness in the region where the storm is now. The same data speaks in favor of the fact that the vortex itself is most likely formed much deeper in the atmosphere of Neptune and becomes visible only after its top reaches the higher layers of the planet’s atmosphere.
Astronomers believe that the cause of the storm on Uranus, which covered the north pole of the ice giant with a white cap, is the unique rotation of the space body.
Unlike any other solar planetsystem, Uranus tilted almost on its side. Because of this tilt during the summer, the sun shines almost directly at the north pole and never sets. Uranus is now approaching the middle of the summer season, and the polar cap area is becoming increasingly noticeable. This polar cap could have been formed as a result of seasonal changes in the atmospheric flow.
Observing and analyzing weather phenomena in the atmospheres of these planets will help scientists better understand the differences and similar features of the atmospheres of other planets in the solar system, including the earth.
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