The Hubble Space Telescope has captured the formation of a storm on Neptune that is comparable in size to the Great Dark Spot for the first time, according to NASA scientists.
While reportedly busy tracking the smaller storm, the specialists weren't expecting to see another big one so soon, according to a planetary scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Centre in Greenbelt, Maryland.
.@NASAHubble, what's the weather… on Neptune? 💨 🌩️ ️— NASA (@NASA) 25 марта 2019 г.
A storm tracking team at @NASAGoddard analyzes telescope data to observe the formation and paths of weather systems on the icy planet. What's next? Studying the storms' vortex and wind speed: https://t.co/z171Kv7JHh pic.twitter.com/B9C6IOkRms
"The high-altitude clouds are made up of methane ice crystals, which give them their characteristic bright, white appearance. These companion clouds are thought to hover above the storms, similar to the way that lenticular clouds cap tall mountains on Earth. Their presence several years before a new storm was spotted suggests that dark spots may originate much deeper in the atmosphere than previously thought", NASA reported.
Neptune is the eighth and most distant planet from the Sun in the Solar System, which was discovered in 1846. It is the fourth-largest planet by diametre and the third-largest by mass.
NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope took sharp images of Neptune at a distance of 2.7 billion miles (4.3 billion kilometres) from Earth in 1994.
The faraway planet has been visited by that Voyager 2 spacecraft that flew by the planet on 25 August 1989.