Like Earth, the bright blue ice giant Neptune in the outer solar system has distinct seasons: Like our planet, it orbits around a tilted axis of rotation as it orbits the Sun once every 165 years—which is why the two halves of the planets sometimes receive more sunlight. , and sometimes less severe. Therefore, in summer on Neptune, it becomes much warmer than in winter. The seasons change slowly and last about 41 Earth years. But there are also large temperature fluctuations on Neptune during a single season, a team of researchers has now found after careful measurements of its Specialized magazine “Journal of Planetary Sciences” sums up.
The team analyzed infrared observations of Neptune collected over the past two decades with a variety of instruments, including ESO’s Very Large Telescope, various telescopes in Hawaii, and the Spitzer Space Telescope. It has been shown that Neptune’s upper atmosphere has cooled significantly over the course of about 15 Earth years since 2003 – by eight degrees Celsius. This was unexpected, according to team member Michael Roman from the University of Leicester In a press release: Measurement data were collected in the early summer of the southern hemisphere of Neptune, when the ice giant’s stratosphere should have been warmer.
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