Baghdad / NinaScientists have discovered a swirl of relatively warm air swirling under the clouds of Uranus, providing strong evidence of a hurricane entrenched in the planet’s north pole.
The new findings add to previous observations that Uranus’s atmosphere is not as inert as it first appeared when NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft flew past the “ice giant” in January 1986.
The northern vortex on Uranus was discovered by detecting thermal emission in the form of radio waves captured by astronomers using the Very Large Array (VLA) of radio telescopes in New Mexico.
NASA scientists suggest that the new observations may mean the presence of a polar cyclone in the north pole of Uranus.
The results revealed that beneath the planet’s clouds, the air circulating in the Arctic appears to be much warmer and drier. According to NASA, this is a hallmark of a powerful hurricane.
Alex Akins, lead author of the study, said: “These observations tell us a lot about the story of Uranus. South pole of Uranus.
During its flyby of the ice giant in 1986, NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft took pictures of the South Pole, showing winds in the polar center rotating faster than the rest of the pole.
However, as of now, it is not clear whether hurricanes also exist in the north pole of Uranus or not.
Uranus’ spiral is compact in shape, with warm, dry air at its core — much like the storms on Saturn, according to NASA.
All in all, the discovery indicates that whether the planets are composed primarily of rock or gas, their atmospheres show signs of a swirling vortex at the poles.
Here on Earth, hurricanes form over water and drift, while on Uranus and Saturn, hurricanes are held in place at the poles.
NASA now hopes to monitor the hurricane to see how it develops over the years./ End 9
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