Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Awesome image of Neptune taken by the Voyager 2 Spacecraft

Awesome image of Uranus taken by the Voyager 2 Spacecraft
Click on the image for full resolution

This awesome picture of Neptune was produced from the last whole planet images taken through the green and orange filters on the Voyager 2 narrow angle camera. The images were taken at a range of 4.4 million miles from the planet, 4 days and 20 hours before closest approach. The picture shows the Great Dark Spot and its companion bright smudge; on the west limb the fast moving bright feature called Scooter and the little dark spot are visible. These clouds were seen to persist for as long as Voyager's cameras could resolve them. North of these, a bright cloud band similar to the south polar streak may be seen.
Oceans of liquid diamond, filled with solid diamond icebergs, could be floating on Neptune, according to a new report. The pressure kept dropping, but the temperature of the diamond remained the same, with more and more chunks of diamond forming. Then the diamond did something unexpected. The chunks of diamond didn't sink. They floated. Microscopic diamond ice burgs floating in a tiny sea of liquid diamond. The diamond was behaving like water. With most materials, the solid state is more dense than the liquid state. Water is an exception to that rule; when water freezes, the resulting ice is actually less dense than the surrounding water, which is why the ice floats and fish can survive a freezing winter. An ocean of diamond could help explain the orientation of the planet's magnetic field as well.
Up to 10% of Neptune is estimated to be made from carbon. A huge ocean of liquid diamond in the right place could deflect or tilt the magnetic field out of alignment with the rotation of the planet. The idea that there are oceans of liquid diamond inside Neptune is not a new idea, says Professor Tom Duffy, a planetary scientist at Princeton University. More research on the composition of Neptune is needed before a truly definitive conclusion can be made, however, and this kind of research is very difficult to conduct. Scientists can either send spacecraft to these planets, or they can try to simulate these conditions on Earth. Both options require years of preparation, expensive equipment, and are subject to some of the toughest environments in the universe.
Credit: NASA/JPL

2 comment(s):

silvia said...

woooooooo very awesome the planet neptune.thanks my dear friend for sharing.nice image.

Jean-Baptiste Faure said...

Thank you Silvia for your comment!!

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