A cyclone has been spotted swirling over Uranus’ north pole for the first time

Monday, June 12, 2023 - 06:43 in Astronomy & Space

Though it looks like a smooth, solid, pale blue orb, there’s more going on beneath the clouds of Uranus than meets the eye. A polar cyclone has been spotted at the planet’s north pole, researchers report in the May 28 Geophysical Research Letters. Observed with radio telescopes, the find is the first direct evidence of a cyclone on Uranus. A previous spacecraft flyby hinted at a similar storm at the planet’s south pole. “It’s really exciting to see this polar structure come into view,” says Michael Roman, a planetary scientist at the University of Leicester in England who was not involved with the research. The observations “show a rather unique structure that we simply have never been able to study before.” In 1986, NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft revealed winds at the center of Uranus’ south pole were moving faster than those in neighboring areas and were rotating. This evidence pointed to something dynamic...

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