The Hubble Space Telescope is watching the dark storm on Neptune, once large enough to reach from Boston in Portugal, has been reduced to nothing.
When NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft flew through Neptune in 1989, it saw big dark storms that inhabited the atmosphere of the distant planet. Since then scientists have been monitoring Neptune using the Hubble Space Telescope and new storms have developed.
But unlike Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, a storm that has been bubbling for at least two centuries, the storms that are preparing for the windy planet Neptune come in a matter of years – and now researchers have started disappearing for the first time, NASA officials said a statement.
“We seem to catch the disappearance of this dark vortex, and it is different from what familiar studies have made us expect”, Michael Wong, a researcher at the University of California at Berkeley and chief author of the new work, says in the statement. Previous simulations suggest that the vortex would float to the equator of the planet, and “once the vortex is too close to the equator, it will break and possibly create a spectacular explosion of cloud activity.”