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Huge storms spotted on Uranus and Neptune


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By Doyle Rice, USA TODAY

Yes, other planets have weather and seasons, but they're nothing like what we have here on Earth.
For example, both Uranus and Neptune have seasons that can last for decades and giant storms that are larger than the United States. 

NASA's Hubble Telescope, in orbit around the Earth, recently spotted a new mysterious dark storm on Neptune and also provided a fresh look at a big white storm that's circling around the north pole on Uranus.

"Uranus is currently deep into its summer season, and that shows in the giant, white cloud that's covering the planet's north pole," according to The summer season on Uranus lasts for 21 years. 

According to NASA, "scientists believe this new feature is a result of Uranus' unique rotation." Unlike all the other planets in the solar system, Uranus is tipped on its side.

The first planet found with the aid of a telescope, Uranus was discovered in 1781 by astronomer William Herschel, NASA said. The planet was named for the Greek god of the sky.

As for the Neptune storm, it's a whopping 6,800 miles across, more than twice the size of the United States. Seasons on Neptune last for over 40 years, and it's now winter in its northern hemisphere. 

Storms like this appear every four to six years in different parts of the planet and disappear after about two years, NASA reported.

To the right of the dark storm on Neptune are bright white "companion clouds," which NASA thinks are likely full of methane ice.

Neptune is named for the god of the sea, in Roman mythology.

It's unclear how these storms form, NASA said. But like Jupiter's famed Great Red Spot, the dark storms seem to dredge up material from deeper levels of the planets' atmospheres.

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.

"Astronomers hope that Hubble's long-term monitoring of the outer planets will help them unravel the mysteries that still persist about these faraway worlds."


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Technology - U.S. Daily News: Huge storms spotted on Uranus and Neptune
Huge storms spotted on Uranus and Neptune
Technology - U.S. Daily News
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