Unexpected atmospheric temperature changes were detected in Neptune

Changes in Neptune’s heat-infrared brightness, measurement of temperature in Neptune’s atmosphere. The plot shows the time-related change in all images taken by underground telescopes in the heat-infrared brightness from Neptune’s stratosphere. Bright pictures are interpreted as hot. Thermo-infrared images (above) at wavelengths of ~ 12 µm (above) show the appearance of Neptune in 2006 (2009 observed by the VISIR instrument of the European Southern Observatory’s largest telescope), and 2020 (observed by the SubarSCOM instrument). The South Pole seems to have warmed dramatically over the past few years. Credit: Michael Roman / NASA / JPL / Voyager-ISS / Justin Cowart

Neptune is colder than we thought

New research led by astronauts at the University of Leicester has revealed what the temperature is like Neptune temperature

Neptune seen in 2020 in visible light (center) and heat-infrared wavelengths (right). The center image combines multiple images from the Hubble Space Telescope, while the heat-infrared image on the right was taken from the Subaru telescope in Maunakeya. , Hawaii. In heat-infrared, Neptune’s hot south pole glows brighter than ever before. Credit: Michael Roman / NASA / ESA / STSci / MH Wong / LA Sromovsky / PM Fry

By analyzing the data, researchers were able to reveal a more complete picture of Neptune’s temperature trends than ever before.

But to the astonishment of researchers, these composite data show a decline in Neptune’s thermal brightness since the onset of reliable thermal imaging in 2003, which indicates that the global average temperature in Neptune’s galaxy – the layer of the atmosphere just above its active atmospheric layer – has decreased. Approximately 8 degrees Vision of Voyager 2 Neptune

View of Voyager 2 Neptune, captured in August 1989. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / Kevin M. Gill

However, at Neptune’s South Pole, the data reveal a strange and dramatic change. The combination of Gemini North’s observations in 2019 and Subaru’s in 2020 reveals that Neptune’s polar stratosphere warmed approximately 11 ° C (~ 20 F) between 2018 and 2020, reversing the previous global average cooling trend. Neptune has never seen such polar warming before.

The cause of these unexpected stratospheric temperature changes is currently unknown, and the results challenge scientists’ understanding of Neptune’s atmospheric variation.

Dr. Roman continued:

“Temperature variations may be related to seasonal changes in Neptune’s atmospheric chemistry, which will change how effectively the atmosphere cools.

“But random variation in weather patterns or even a response to an 11-year solar cycle can have an effect.”

It has previously been suggested that the 11-year solar cycle (denoted by occasional variations in sun activity and sunspots) may affect Neptune’s visible brightness, and new research reveals possible, but temporary relationships between solar activity, stratospheric temperature, and temperature. Number of bright clouds found on Neptune.

Follow-up observations of temperature and cloud patterns are needed to further assess potential correlation in the coming years.

The answers to these mysteries will come from many more Categories Science

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