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Massive Storm on Neptune Surprises Scientists as it Suddenly Moves Northwards After Going South

Representative Image of Solar System.

Representative Image of Solar System.

The existence of the tempest, which is 4,600 miles across, was found in 2018 after NASA's Hubble Space Telescope uncovered a new mysterious dark storm on Neptune during Hubble's routine yearly monitoring of the weather on the solar system's outer planets.

One of the planets of the Solar System, Neptune, seems to be facing a giant storm that changed its path suddenly according to Hubble Telescope's recent view. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), along with the European Space Agency and University of University of California, Berkeley in its statement earlier this month explained how Neptune is facing a storm, which is wider than the size of Atlantic Ocean.

The existence of the tempest, which is 4,600 miles across, was found in 2018 after NASA's Hubble Space Telescope uncovered a new mysterious dark storm on Neptune during Hubble's routine yearly monitoring of the weather on the solar system's outer planets. A year later, the telescope showed that the dark spot began drifting in the southern direction towards the equator, where such storms usually vanish from sight.

However to the surprise of observers in August 2020, Hubble spotted the tempest changing direction and moving back to the north. Even though the Hubble telescope has been tracking such dark spots that usually signify a giant storm for over thirty years, the recent development is something that has happened for the first time.

Earlier in January, the Hubble Telescope also spotted another smaller dark spot that temporarily appeared near the larger storm. In its statement, NASA said that it might be possible that a piece of the giant storm broke off and drifted away, and then disappeared in the following observations. In an official statement, Michael H Wong of the University of California at Berkeley said that scientists are excited about this observation because the smaller dark fragment is most likely part of the dark spot's disruption process.

He further said that this is a process that has never been observed earlier. The team of scientists have witnessed some other dark spots fading away and disappearing but they have never seen anything disrupt, even though it is predicted in computer simulations. The storm that is raging on Neptune is the fourth dark spot on the planet that has been observed by Hubble since 1993.

NASA Hubble also posted a latest picture of Neptune on its Instagram page, which has been liked by over 1,47,458 users.

first published:December 29, 2020, 19:01 IST
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