The giant storm seen on Neptune is diminishing rapidly and will fade soon: NASA
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The giant storm seen on Neptune is diminishing rapidly and will fade soon: NASA

Scientists have discovered a strange storm occurring in Neptune, which is shrinking rapidly and going towards an unusual direction. The dark-colored storm was first discovered by NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft when it zoomed past Neptune in 1989. The Voyager 2 not only saw one but many large dark storms present throughout the ice giant. But scientists were surprised by the unusual behaviour of a particular dark-colored storm which is almost the size of Atlantic Ocean. They decided to look at that dark vortex more dedicatedly with the help of the Hubble Space Telescope.

Since 2015, NASA’s Hubble telescope has been observing the dark vortex present on Neptune and recently it revealed a surprising data about the dark-colored storm. The scientists found out that the giant dark vortex is shrinking rapidly and soon the storm will die. The scientists were also surprised to see the storm following a different direction compared to other vortices.  It was previously known that the unlike Jupiter’s great red spot, whose storms live for centuries, the storms of Neptune are short-lived.

“This isn’t totally unexpected. While storms like Jupiter’s Great Red Spot have been raging for centuries, Neptune’s storms tend to be more short-lived.” the NASA scientists said. But what baffled the scientists was the strange and unusual behavior of this particular dark vortex dubbed SDS 2015. This dark vortex was completely different from other vortices found on Neptune. The scientists said that the dark-colored storm was fading rapidly and was following a different path unlike other storms found on Neptune.

Earlier computer simulations indicated that owing to the anti-cyclonic nature of Neptune’s storms, the planet’s wind shear would most probably drift the dying vortex towards the equator as is the case with other vortices. Michael Wong of the University of California at Berkeley said, “We thought that once the vortex got too close to the equator, it would break up and perhaps create a spectacular outburst of cloud activity. But through Hubble telescope, the scientists got to know that the rapidly shrinking vortex is moving towards the South Pole instead of the equator and is soon going to die. If the storm dies, then it will be for the first time that the scientists will be able to see a storm of Neptune from start to finish.