Study: Ice Giant Neptune Could Be Cooler

A new study has revealed that the ice giant Neptune may be even colder than we originally thought.

NASA researchers have analyzed thermal infrared images of Neptune from multiple observatories over the course of nearly 20 years.

Their analysis revealed that average temperatures in Neptune’s stratosphere unexpectedly decreased by about 14 degrees Fahrenheit (8 degrees Celsius) between 2003 and 2018.

Dr Michael Roman, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Leicester and lead author of the study said: “This change was unexpected. Since we’ve been observing Neptune during the early southern summer, we’d expect temperatures to be warmer, not cooler.

NASA researchers have analyzed thermal infrared images of Neptune from multiple observatories over the course of nearly 20 years. Their analysis revealed that average temperatures in Neptune’s stratosphere unexpectedly decreased by about 14 degrees Fahrenheit (8 degrees Celsius) between 2003 and 2018.

Researchers studied thermal infrared images from a range of observatories, including the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope and Gemini Southern Telescope in Chile, Subaru Telescope, Keck Telescope, Gemini North Telescope, all in Hawaii, and NASA. Spitzer Space Telescope.

The images revealed that between 2003 and 2018, temperatures in Neptune’s stratosphere — the second layer of the atmosphere as you moved up — decreased by 14 degrees Fahrenheit (8 degrees Celsius). Like Earth, Neptune lives through its seasons.

However, while the Earth takes 365 days to complete an orbit around the sun, Neptune takes more than 165 years, this means that seasons on the ice giant change much more slowly, lasting more than 40 Earth years each.

“Our data covers less than half of Neptune’s season, so no one expected to see big, rapid changes,” said Dr. Glenn Orton, chief researcher at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and co-author of the study.

While thermal data revealed that temperatures across the stratosphere declined from 2003 to 2018, surprisingly, the opposite was true for Neptune’s south pole from 2018 to 2020.

By Editor

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