The Neptune's Latest Found Vortex Is Dying

The Neptune's Latest Found Vortex Is Dying

However, while Jupiter's storm has raged for at least the past 200 years, this Neptune storm and its dark vortices is just a few years old and is now the first to be photographed in the midst of dying.

And it probably stinks: "The dark spot material may be hydrogen sulfide, with the pungent smell of rotten eggs". It is the first dying storm to be seen by Hubble. While storms like Jupiter's Great Red Spot have been raging for centuries, Neptune's storms tend to be more short-lived, NASA said. But scientists were unable to figure out how these dark vortices are formed.

Storms on Neptune are dark in color due to the specific way in which the planet's currents operate.

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.

According to scientists, such dark vortices were discovered in the atmosphere of Neptune way back in the late 1980s by NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft.

As best as we can tell, these vortices form when clouds of gas and air in Neptune's atmosphere swirl and freeze in the cold temperatures.

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The storm's "particles themselves are still highly reflective; they are just slightly darker than the particles in the surrounding atmosphere", Joshua Tollefson from the University of California at Berkeley said in a statement.

First and foremost, there is no concrete explanation on how the dark vortices on Neptune start, including the factors that affect their drift and oscillation, how the storms interact with what surrounds them, and how they dissipate.

"It looks like we're capturing the demise of this dark vortex, and it's different from what well-known studies led us to expect", said Dr. Michael Wong, from the University of California, Berkeley. The oval-shaped spot has shrunk from 3,100 miles (4,990 km) across its long axis to 2,300 miles (3,701 km) across, over the Hubble observation period. Researchers thought that the storm will move closer to Neptune's equator, where it will break up and generate cloud activity.

But the dark spot, which was first seen at mid-southern latitudes, has apparently faded away rather than going out with a bang.

Neptune might not be as very big as Jupiter or adorned with the rings like Saturn, but it is well distinguished from all the other planets in our solar system by its incredibly powerful winds, which at times even reach supersonic speeds, according to NASA's press-release. However, SDS-2015 appears to be simply fading away, and it is moving to the planet's south pole and not to its equator. This allows Neptune's vortex to be a shiftless drifter, changing its "traffic lanes" in ways that are hard to anticipate.

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