Mystery Photo

What in the world is it?

Don’t peek at the answer until you’ve given this a good try! Then, scroll down a bit and the truth will be revealed to you.

(Image Credit: www.hubblesite.org)

Cold breath on a marble? The Earth without continents?

Well what you see here are images showing Neptune in the springtime. You see, earth isn’t the only planet with weather. In fact, NASA Hubble Space Telescope observations made in August 2002 have shown that Neptune’s brightness has increased significantly since 1996.

What does that mean? Apparently, the brightness change is due to an increase in the amount of clouds observed in the planet’s southern hemisphere. According to NASA scientists, these increases may be due to seasonal changes caused by a variation in solar heating. Because Neptune’s rotation axis is inclined 29 degrees to its orbital plane, it is subject to seasonal solar heating during its 164.8-year orbit of the Sun. This seasonal variation is 900 times smaller than experienced by Earth because Neptune is much farther from the Sun. The rate of seasonal change also is much slower because Neptune takes 165 years to orbit the Sun. So, springtime in the southern hemisphere will last for several decades!