September 19, 2007

Neptune's Hotspots Explained

The freezing winds on Neptune might be a bit in warmer around the south polar region a new study shows.

Bathed in the scarce sunbeams for years, this region is slightly warmer at a balmy -300 degrees Farenheit. This allows an abundance of methane gas to leak into the stratosphere. Researchers were puzzled how there could be a stratospheric abundance of methane when, at the typical temperatures of -328, the methane gas should be frozen.

The methane gas present in the stratosphere is responsible for Neptune's blue tint; it absorbs red light and only reflects back the blue.