The storm is 4,600 miles across – wider than the Atlantic Ocean – and forms in the northern hemisphere of Neptune. Hubble has been keeping an eye on the storm since its discovery two years ago, and astronomers have observed a southern orbit near the planet’s equator.
This is basically the killing zone, where the storms die on Neptune and disappear without a trace.
The vortex unexpectedly moved north again, However, Goes to its inaugural stage in August 2020.
Neptune has four storms – including this one – known as dark spots (such as Jupiter’s Great Red Spot), which Hubble observed for many years. Storms follow a similar pattern of appearing and disappearing in two years.
Voyager 2 saw two dark storms on Neptune during its 1989 flight to the planet – but they disappeared before Hubble noticed them after they were launched in 1993.
What makes this vortex-like storm a showstopper is that astronomers have never seen a storm on Neptune.
Researchers believe the storm actually cut off a portion. In January Hubble saw a small dark spot called “Dark Spot Jr.” which was shown next to the big dark spot. (Yes, this is all small writing).
The small dark spot may have been part of a once massive storm that was nearby before it broke and disappeared.
The Hubble film was released on Tuesday and was presented during the Fall 2020 meeting of the American Geophysical Union, which happened almost due to an epidemic.
“We’re excited about these observations because this little dark piece may be part of the process of disruption of dark space,” said Michael H. Snyder, a planetary scientist at the University of California, Berkeley. Wong said in a statement.
“This is a process that has never been noticed. We have seen some other dark spots disappear, they are gone, but we have never seen anything disruptive as predicted in computer simulations.”
Watching Neptune weather
Neptune images returned by Voyager 2 and Hubble revealed a brilliant blue color of the ice giant due to the atmosphere of hydrogen, helium and methane. But it’s a dark, frozen world, with an average temperature of 392 degrees Fahrenheit and howling air, sending frozen methane clouds across the planet at 1,200 miles per hour.
It is the farthest planet in our solar system, about 30 times the father of the Sun from Earth – this distance makes Neptune look like twilight on Earth in the afternoon.
The Great Dark Spot on Neptune, as witnessed by Voyager 2, was large enough to cover the Earth.
The researchers did not understand much about how these massive storms formed, but they were able to study this darker place in more detail than previous storms.
These storms on Neptune act differently than hurricanes on Earth. Dark spots are high-pressure systems that begin to stabilize and rotate clockwise, while low-pressure systems that rotate in the opposite direction to hurricanes on Earth.
But this stability breaks down when storms come near the Neptune equator – except for the recent dark spot.
“It was so exciting to see this one act, it had to act, and then suddenly it stopped and swayed again,” Wong said. “It was amazing.”
When this reversal occurred, the dark spot was Jr.. Appeared. The strip was even larger, 3,900 miles across.
However, the look of the small space is unusual.
“When I first saw the small space, I thought the big one would be affected,” Wong said. “I do not think another vortex is formed because the smaller one is farther from the equator. So it is within this unstable region. But we can not prove that the two are related. It remains an absolute mystery.
“It was only in January that the dark vortex stopped its movement and began to move north again,” Wong added. “Perhaps by scattering those fragments, it was enough to prevent it from moving towards the equator.”
Dark Place Jr.. Disappeared, researchers search for remnants of small storm.
Hubble keeps an eye on distant planets in its solar system through its extraterrestrial atmospheric legacy program. This long-term plan observes the outer planets of our solar system each year when they are closest to Earth in their orbits.
By comparing the observations of these planets from year to year, scientists can observe events such as storms and seasonal changes.
“If it weren’t for Hubble we wouldn’t know anything about these recent dark spots,” said Amy Simon, Opel’s lead investigator In a statement at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in the Green Belt, Maryland.
“We can now see the full life cycle following the big storm for many years. If we did not have Hubble, we might think that the Great Dark Spot Neptune seen by Voyager in 1989 is similar to Jupiter’s Great Red Spot. We would not have known about the other four places where Hubble discovered.”