Neptune was found to be cooling unexpectedly during its astronomical summer after 2 decades of studies.
The year on Neptune lasts 165 Earth years because it revolves around the sun at a distance 30 times larger compared to that of our Earth. Even the ice giant’s cycles, which span more than 40 years apiece, are lengthier than those on Earth’s.
In the last 2 decades, as the earth entered its southern summer, scientists have seen average global temperatures drop by an incredible 14 ℉ (8 degrees Celsius). Lead researcher of the new article and postdoctoral researcher associate at Leicester University, Michael Roman, stated this shift was surprising. As Neptune enters its south summer, we might anticipate temperatures to gradually rise, rather than fall, as we have seen the planet.
The researchers studied infrared images made by many of the world’s most powerful telescopes between 2003 and 2018. The scientists, in a statement, noted that the measured cooling was not uniform. There is a warming tendency in Neptune’s stratosphere, which is Neptune’s 2nd lowest layer of atmospheric. Measurements from a two-year period, from 2018 to 2020, showed a 20-degree F increase in global temperature (11 degrees C). Neptune has never seen polar heating like this before, according to the experts.
Neptune, on the other hand, has only been accessible to researchers for a few decades, and they know little to nothing about the world’s natural seasons. The sun’s 11-year rhythm of activity, and the ups and downs of sunspot production by the star, may be a possible explanation for the unanticipated temperature swings.
It’s hoped that future studies may throw additional light on the mysteries of the faraway world. Experts think that the James Webb Space Telescope will revolutionize our knowledge of Neptune.
The findings were published in the Planetary Science Journal.
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