BEACON TRANSCRIPT – A team of astronomers from the University of California at Berkeley made an extremely interesting discovery about Neptune. Near the equator of the planet, there lay a huge storm system which shone bright from June 35th until July 2nd. The storm was about as wide as Earth and unleashed at an unusually low latitude.
The storm system on Neptune is highly unusual
It’s not unusual at all to spot a storm system forming around a planet. However, not all of them are ordinary, and the phenomenon on Neptune fits this description. Apart from being about 9,000 kilometers long, this storm system is unusual both due to its location and because it kept shining bright for about a month.
Researchers revealed such bright storms are not a sight you witness every day at such low latitudes. The area around the equator is quite calm for all planets, so seeing a huge bright cloud lying there was the most unexpected view astronomers could have.
Bright clouds are not atypical for Neptune, but they usually gather near the poles. This is why astronomers are now trying to find out how a storm system could have formed at the equator and how it could persist for such a long time.
Researchers are trying to find explanations for the phenomenon
They thought a dark vortex could have been lying behind the storm. However, it’s hard to find a possible explanation for the existence of such a vortex at Neptune’s equator. Analyzing the atmosphere of the planet is also hard. Fortunately, a dark vortex would explain why the storm system was so persistent.
The storm could have also been made up of a convective cloud. However, these types of clouds usually take around a week to dissipate. Therefore, a convective cloud being present for a month is quite an unlikely scenario.
This unusual storm system is the clearest example of the major changes taking place in Neptune’s atmosphere. This event might be taking place only seasonally, so there we might soon be able to witness something similar in a few decades.
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