New Hubble image sheds light on Neptune’s storms

Neptune has never had a dedicated space mission, but the Hubble Space Telescope still sheds new light on the mysterious planet.

Running the news: A new photo from the space telescope shows a prolonged storm – the dark place in the upper center – only seen in 2018, which is still going strong.

  • Scientists expected the large, dark storm to disappear because they saw it move toward the planet’s equator, where these types of storms usually fade.
  • However, new Hubble observations show the dark spot – which is wider than the Atlantic Ocean – unexpectedly moved back across the equator.

Plots: Hubble also found a minor, dark storm in the planet’s atmosphere in January. Scientists suspect it may be an interrupted bit of the larger storm.

  • “It was also in January that the dark vortex stopped moving and began moving north again,” Michael Wong of the University of California at Berkeley said in a statement. “Perhaps by throwing this fragment, it was enough to prevent it from moving toward the equator.”