Uranus – the giant gas world, located 2.8 million kilometers from the Sun – is quite stormy.
The NASA Hubble Space Telescope has captured one of these storms, floating in the green-blue atmosphere of the Planet. Literally, the entire North Pole is occupied by hurricane!
“Scientists believe this new feature of Uranus is the result of its unique rotation,” NASA writes. Unlike all other planets in the Solar System, Uranus is tipped on its side. This means that the Sun has been shining the North Pole constantly during the local long summer. And this in turn leads to widespread atmospheric changes.
Just below the massive polar storm we see a small white cloud made up of methane.
The US space agency also noticed a new storm of Neptune. It’s a dark spot on the top of the planet. Such meteorological events puzzled scientists as they suddenly appeared and disappeared rapidly.
“This is the fourth mysterious vortex of this type shot by the Hubble since 1993,” NASA said.
Both planets are classified as ice giant planets. They have no solid surface but rather mantles of hydrogen and helium surrounding a water-rich interior, itself perhaps wrapped around a rocky core.
Storms like this appear every four to six years in different parts of the planet and disappear after about two years, NASA reported. The US space agency will continue to follow these planets to learn more about the alien storms floating on their surface.