Existence of a giant cyclone is confirmed at the pole of Uranus

Scientists who observe Uranus with the help of giant ground-based antennas have been able to accurately establish that a giant cyclone is raging over its North Pole. Over the past few years, this planet has been turning its corresponding hemisphere towards us and, finally, the fact of the existence of this phenomenon has been confirmed.

The pole of Uranus. Source: mashable.com

The Poles of Uranus

NASA scientists have for the first time received confirmation of the existence of a permanent cyclone at the North Pole of Uranus. A study on this is published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. These studies confirm the idea that polar vortices exist on all planets of the Solar System, regardless of whether they consist of rocks or gas.

Previously, a similar giant vortex in the form of a hexagon was discovered at the pole of Saturn. And on Jupiter, at each of the poles, there is a whole group of vortices that form regular shapes. But with Uranus, things are much more complicated.

The fact is that the planet moves in orbit as if lying on its side. And one of its orbits around the Sun takes 84 years. As a result, one of the poles is turned to the Sun and, accordingly, to the Earth once every 42 years.

Cyclone at the pole

Humanity has known for a long time that there is a giant vortex at the south pole of Uranus. In 1986, the Voyager-2 spacecraft discovered that the tops of clouds in the polar regions rotated faster than in the equatorial zone. However, then, the temperature changes that were characteristic of such atmospheric phenomena were not detected by the apparatus’ instruments.

And then Uranus turned around and for several decades both of its poles were inaccessible for direct observations. And the scientists who work with Very Large Array antennas in New Mexico have taken advantage of this. 

Observations carried out in 2015, 2021 and 2022 showed that the gas at the north pole of Uranus was warmer and drier. These are the signs of a cyclone. It remains unclear whether it is the same as the one seen by Voyager-2, or it is a more complex atmospheric phenomenon.

According to phys.org

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