Neptune's Mysterious Shrinking Storm

Neptune's Mysterious Shrinking Storm

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Fast Facts
News release ID: STScI-2018-08
Release Date: Feb 15, 2018
Image Use: Copyright
About this image

This series of Hubble Space Telescope images taken over 2 years tracks the demise of a giant dark vortex on the planet Neptune. The oval-shaped spot has shrunk from 3,100 miles across its long axis to 2,300 miles across, over the Hubble observation period. Immense dark storms on Neptune were first discovered in the late 1980s by the Voyager 2 spacecraft. Since then only Hubble has tracked these elusive features that play a game of peek-a-boo over the years. Hubble found two dark storms that appeared in the mid-1990s and then vanished. This latest storm was first seen in 2015. The first images of the dark vortex are from the Outer Planet Atmospheres Legacy (OPAL) program, a long-term Hubble project that annually captures global maps of our solar system's four outer planets.


Tags
Hubble Telescope, Neptune, Planetary Atmospheres/Weather, Solar System

Credits

NASA, ESA, and M.H. Wong and A.I. Hsu (UC Berkeley)