The Sciences

Look At This: New Photos Show Uranus' Stormy Weather in Unprecedented Detail

80beatsBy Ashley P. TaylorOct 19, 2012 7:32 PM

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In 1986, in a flyby shooting, the Voyager 2 space probe took some of our first photos

of Uranus. The planet looked blue-green and featureless, a planetary pokerface. In the decades since, we've learned that Uranus does have weather, visible as variations in color on the surface, and new photos from by the Keck II telescope in Hawaii (above) reveal the ice giant's meteorology in more detail than ever before. The scalloped pattern near the equator is a ring of clouds; the busy, blue-flecked cap at the right end---the planet's North Pole---are storms. For sunny weather, try another planet: this one gets sunlight hundreds times weaker than we do on Earth, and the temperature of its upper atmosphere drops as low as -371 F

, making it the coldest planet in the solar system.

Image via Lawrence Sromovsky, Pat Fry, Heidi Hammel, Imke de Pater/University of Wisconsin

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