A Foul-Smelling Storm on Neptune is Mysteriously Fading Away

19 Febrero, 2018, 02:43 | Author: Enrique Watson
  • A Foul-Smelling Storm on Neptune is Mysteriously Fading Away

Packing copious amounts of hydrogen sulfide - the chemical ingredient that gives farts their very bad smell - this storm is not behaving as astronomers predicted, with the latest results suggesting the dark vortex is dying.

The dark spot is thought to be swirling with hydrogen sulphide, which has a pungent smell. The Hubble Space Telescope first detected the storm in June 2015, with astronomers likening its clouds to the pancake-shaped ones in the children's book Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.

A massive storm located on the surface of Neptune is mysteriously shrinking, but there might be an answer as to why.

Like Jupiter's Great Red Spot, the storm swirls in an anti-cyclonic direction and is dredging up material from deep inside the ice giant's atmosphere. Plus, with James Webb Space Telescope coming into action next year, we can expect more such discoveries in the near future.

Additionally, Joshua Tollefson of the University of California Berkeley commented on the storm, saying: 'The particles themselves are still highly reflective; they are just slightly darker than the particles in the surrounding atmosphere'.

"Many questions remain as to how dark vortices originate, what controls their drift and oscillation, how they interact with the environment, and how they eventually dissipate", said one of the study's author.

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First of all, researchers aren't exactly sure how these storms form in the first place - though they do have some guesses. New research published in the Astronomical Journal shows that SDS-2015 is now entering into its death throes. Instead, the storm seems like it's just fading into nothing as it moves toward Neptune's south pole and not the planet's equator as expected, NASA said. Neptune's big fart is now moving very slowly in a southerly direction, traversing a distance of about 1.7 degrees to 2.5 degrees of latitude each year.

Far away on the distant planet of Neptune, an enormous storm is fading away into nothingness.

"We have no evidence of how these vortices are formed or how fast they rotate", Agustín Sánchez-Lavega from the University of the Basque Country, said in the statement.

Astronomers theorise that the vortices arise from an instability caused by the sheared eastward and westward winds, and they have created models to predict the movement of SDS-2015.

'The vortex should be free to change traffic lanes and cruise anywhere in between the jets'.

So when a new one was spotted in 2015, researchers made a decision to monitor it. No facilities other than Hubble and Voyager have observed these vortices. Hubble is now the only source of data on the frequency of these weather systems.

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