Fresh images of Uranus and Jupiter have been sent back by the Hubble telescope, illustrating how slowly the weather on these planets is changing. Above Uranus' North Pole, a white cap of icy smog is growing, and the Great Red Spot, which has become a sort of Jupiter visiting card, is decreasing.
Uranus in 2014 (left) and 2022 (right) Image source: nasa.gov
Planets in the far part of the solar system that receive very little sunlight are of particular value, as they are still "alive".
A photochemical haze over the planet's North Pole is forming over the planet's North Pole in 2028, the last time this happened in the 1940s.
The difference between the seasons on Uranus is enormous: the planet's tilt relative to the orbital plane is only 8° – it virtually "lies on its side". Consequently, the Northern and Southern Hemispheres receive little sunlight during their winter months.
Jupiter in November 2022 (left) and January 2023 (right) On the left, the satellite Io passes, on the right, Ganymede.
The most recent Hubble photographs reveal interesting weather processes that took place near Jupiter. The Great Red Spot has reached its lowest level in 150 years of regular observation, with winds exceeding 430 to 680 km/h around the perimeter. Further north near the equator, another huge storm appears to be forming.
The new storm area has already been dubbed a "swirl street" by astronomers. Jupiter may form a megastorm larger than the Great Red Spot, but such a combination is unlikely. Ever since Jupiter's entry into Earth orbit in the early 1990s, astronomers have begun to notice the formation of cyclones forming a "swirl street."
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