Scientists have solid proof of a polar cyclone on Uranus for the first time, according to NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), which made the announcement. They used ground-based telescopes to analyse radio waves the planet was emitting. And they discovered the unusual weather event at the planet’s north pole.
This supports the idea that, regardless of whether a planet is made of rock or gas. All planets in our solar system with significant atmospheres exhibit symptoms of a spinning vortex at the poles.
Methane cloud tops had previously been captured by NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft. It revealed that winds near the pole’s centre were spinning more quickly than those over the rest of the pole. While the latest study, which was published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, did not detect any shifts in temperature, Voyager’s instruments did.
“These observations provide us a lot more information about Uranus’s history. The world is far more dynamic than you would imagine. It’s not just a simple blue gas ball, either. There’s a lot going on behind the scenes,” main author Alex Akins said in a press release.
The Sun is incredibly far away from Uranus, and it takes the planet 84 years to complete one full revolution around it. The planet’s poles were not facing Earth for many years, but starting about 2014, astronomers have had a clearer view of Uranus’s pole and have been able to peer further into the polar atmosphere.
Uranus’s cyclone’s components
Cyclones on Uranus don’t develop over water like they do on our planet. Given that the planet is not known to have liquid water, this is only natural. In addition, the cyclones on Uranus and even Saturn appear to be trapped at the poles rather than drifting.
With the exception of Mercury, cyclones have now been found near the poles of every planet in the solar system, according to NASA. There isn’t much of an atmosphere on that planet.
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