After studying ice giant Neptune, scientists have concluded that the planet’s temperature has been getting inexplicably colder in recent decades.
The discovery was made after researchers examined Neptune’s stratosphere – the upper part of the world’s atmosphere. Scientists used over 95 thermal-infrared images taken from 2003 to 2020 to analyse the planet’s temperatures. The study was published in the Planetary Science Journal.
Frigid and far-flung Neptune, our solar system's outermost planet, is adding to its reputation as an enigmatic world, with astronomers puzzled by a surprising drop in its atmospheric temperatures during the past two decades https://t.co/EVgsrnHfBP
— Reuters (@Reuters) April 11, 2022
On Neptune, the season of summer lasts 40 earth years. During this time, when scientists were studying summer in the planet’s southern hemisphere, they expected to find atmospheric temperatures rising.
However, to their surprise, they found the temperature dropping dramatically. The planet’s stratosphere fell by as much as 8 degrees Celsius, and is no believed to be around minus 117 degrees C.
“The atmosphere appears more complicated than we had naively assumed, which, unsurprisingly, seems to be a general lesson that nature teaches scientists again and again,” said Michael Roman, the study’s leader author, according to Reuters.
“I think Neptune is very intriguing to many of us because we still know so little about it.”