Neptune’s weather patterns may not be quite as well known as a certain other celestial storm that’s been raging for hundreds of years, but that doesn’t mean they’re not equally exciting to scientists. The Hubble Telescope has been taking spectacular pictures of our solar system for nearly 30 years, and most recently it’s been pointed straight at Neptune. During this time, it’s been able to keep tabs on a storm raging on the planet.
This Neptune storm is relatively small compared to its planetary big brother Jupiter. While the Great Red Spot, while still shrinking, could still completely swallow the Earth, the Neptune storm was originally measured at approximately 3,100 miles across. It has since shrunk to closer to 2,300 miles. That’s just a few hundred miles less than the drive from New York City to San Diego. Still quite big, but nowhere near the storm on Jupiter.
Scientists watching the storm believe it could be made up of hydrogen sulfide, but they admit they still have a bit to learn about these storms. They do know that these storms last at most for a few years, which is also a far cry from the Great Red Spot’s longevity.
This storm is also working a bit differently than researchers expected. From what they understand about Neptune’s wind patterns, they figured the storm should work its way towards the planet’s equator and break up spectacularly. It’s doing quite the opposite, trailing towards the planet’s south pole and just kind of whimpering out.
You can check out NASA’s video about the storm below: