Birth of the Great Dark Spot & # 39; of Neptune captured for the first time

Jupiter may be known for its large red spot, but the Hubble Space Telescope captured another planetary anomaly in the depths of space: the birth of one of Neptune's "big dark spots".

Astronomers began studying a sun storm on the eighth planet in 2015 when they spotted forming white clouds. Three years later, the researchers noted that a dark storm had been observed at the point where white clouds were forming.

"We were so busy tracking this small 2015 storm that we did not necessarily expect another big one so fast," said planetary science expert Amy Simon at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Florida. Maryland. .

NASA hits hard storms of Jupiter

"It was certainly a surprise," added Simon. "We used to look at the big red spot of Jupiter, which was probably there for over 100 years."

The results were published in the scientific journal Letters of geophysical research.

Researchers have observed six "big black spots" on Neptune, dating back nearly 30 years, according to the study. It is possible that each storm lasts up to six years, although the study suggests that lifetimes of two years are "more likely".

The first two storms were captured by the Voyager 2 spacecraft in 1989, while Hubble captured the other four.

Further study of these storms will provide researchers with new information about the planet's atmosphere, their formation and their origin.


"A global image search of Hubble Neptune from 2015 to 2017 reveals smaller clouds present at locations consistent with this storm, which means that its formation can take many years. it could come from a much deeper atmosphere than expected, "the researchers wrote a plain language summary of the study.

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