A Dark Spot on Neptune

dark spot image2This new Hubble Space Telescope image reveals a new dark vortex in the atmosphere of Neptune. Neptune’s dark vortices are high-pressure systems and are usually accompanied by bright “companion clouds,” and the visible-light image on the left shows the dark feature near a patch of bright clouds in the planet’s southern hemisphere. The bright clouds form when the flow of the atmosphere is perturbed and diverted upward over the dark vortex, probably causing methane to freeze into ice crystals. The image at top right is a full-color close-up of the complex feature. The image at bottom right shows that the vortex as seen in blue wavelengths.

Image Credit: NASA

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