Scientists who observe Neptune say the planet is getting colder

Researchers say new observations of Neptune indicate that the planet is getting colder.

An international team of astronomers used ground-based telescopes in Hawaii and Chile to estimate the temperatures of Neptune’s atmosphere. The team examined nearly 100 infrared images taken by telescopes from 2003 to 2020. The data showed that Neptune had experienced a sudden drop in atmospheric temperatures over the past 17 years.

considered “ice” giantNeptune is the farthest planet in our solar system. It is about four times larger than Earth. Neptune orbits more than 30 times more than the Sun does from Earth. This means that it takes about 165 Earth years to complete one revolution around the Sun.”

Neptune is among the least explored planets. The US space agency Voyager 2 is the only spacecraft that has passed close to Neptune, which happened in 1989.

The latest surveys of Neptune’s atmospheric temperatures are the most detailed ever collected. Team results mentioned recently in the post Planetary Science Journal.

The researchers focused on Neptune’s stratosphere, the upper part of the atmosphere just above the planet’s climate. layer. The temperature of Neptune’s stratosphere has dropped to minus 117 degrees Celsius, a drop of eight degrees over a 17-year period. By comparison, temperatures in the troposphere of Neptune – the coldest climate layer – did not show any significant changes. The temperature of the troposphere reached minus 223 degrees Celsius.

“This change was unexpected,” Michael Roman said of the stratospheric readings. He is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Leicester in Great Britain and lead author of the study. “I think Neptune is very important it’s interesting For many of us, because we still know so little about it.”

He noted that the observations of Neptune led researchers to believe that the conditions of the planet are more complex than initially thought. Roman said the result “looks like a general lesson that nature teaches scientists over and over again.”

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope’s views of Neptune provide three views of the planet’s changing weather conditions.

Astronomers have collected Neptune’s temperatures using cameras equipped to measure infrared light from space objects, according to the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in the current situation. Most of the team’s observations were made using ESO’s Very Large Telescope, located in northern Chile.

The temperature has changed over time and unevenly. The area of ​​the planet known as the South tropics It cools, then heats up, and then cools again. In the central regions, temperatures remained similar before starting to decrease over time. The researchers report that Antarctica temperatures showed only a slight dip for most of the period. But after that, the area quickly and significantly improved. From 2018 to 2020, the temperature in Antarctica increased by 11 degrees.

“I suspect that the overall decrease in temperature is likely due to changes in atmospheric chemistry, which respond to seasonal changes in sunlight,” Roman said.

Glenn Orton, a co-author on the study, said Neptune could provide lessons about planets outside our solar system, which are called exoplanets. He is a planetary scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California.

“The close relationship that Neptune can share with the Great plot It could be “an exoplanet in our backyard,” Orton said when calculating the exoplanets. He added that Neptune could become “a model of the things we can expect to see.” meteorology“One of the most studied exoplanets of the future.

I’m Brian Lynn.

Reuters and the European Southern Observatory reported this story. Bryan Lynn has adapted the reports for VOA Learning English.

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The words of this story

giant – no. very big

layer – no. Amount of material covering the surface

it’s interesting so interesting

tropics – no. The hottest part of the world

meteorology – no. Planetary Atmosphere and Climate Sciences

plot – no. One of the parts into which a thing can be divided

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