Astronomers claimed that Neptune's weird dark spot is now acting stranger than before. The researchers also found a smaller vortex which they call "Dark Spot J."
Neptune is one of the planets in the solar system with the strangest weather. It holds the record for the fastest winds, with speeds cutting through the atmosphere upward of 1,000 miles per hour.
This ability is 1.5 times faster than the speed of sound. Imagine walking on the surface of this planet and feeling its wind breeze. As of the moment, scientists still don't know why Neptune's atmosphere is so aggressive and tumultuous. And now, their new findings even lead to more confusion.
The Hubble Telescope found a smaller vortex
According to The New York Times' latest report, NASA's Hubble Telescope spotted a storm in 2018. This creates a dark spot on the planet that is 4,600 miles across.
Ever since it appeared, the storm drifted toward the equator and then strangely swooped back up north. NASA's previous report that this sudden change of direction could have shed a fragment of the huge storm. This is not the first time that astronomers observed that the dark spot is acting weird.
However, Hubble Telescope's latest observations revealed that there is a smaller dark spot called Dark Spot Jr. The scientists believe that this smaller storm is from the main storm.
Although the vortexes stand out against the dizzying blue planet, they have short life spans. This issue makes them even harder to study. On the other hand, the Voyager 2 spacecraft also observed two storms in 1990.
The spaceship also revealed a similar observation since it also found a smaller companion close to the original Dark Spot. This storm is about the size of the Earth.
"When we were tracking the great dark spot with Voyager, we saw it oscillating up and down in longitude," said Heidi Hammel, a Voyager 2 space probe's member, via The New York Times.
"We had enough time on Voyager, that we were able to track the feature for something like four to five months leading up to the flyby. That storm was huge, a big monster," she added.
Astronomers found out how the Dark Spot's maximum age
When the Voyager astronomers were about to use the Hubble Telescope to observe the huge Dark Spot, the storm vanished four years later. Because of this information, the scientists concluded that the Dark Spot usually lasts from two to five years. Its size also depends on how long it is ravaging in Neptune's atmosphere.
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Written by: Giuliano de Leon.