The Mary Sue

Chris Arridge

Mysterious Eruption on Uranus Calls Astronomers to Action

A few days ago, Dr. Heidi B Hammel announced on her Facebook page that a strange plume had been spotted in the lower hemisphere of the ice giant Uranus. Along with her announcement was a call for independent verification from amateur astronomers, with the goal of making the anomaly a "target of opportunity" for the Hubble space telescope. The strange bright spot has been observed by the Gemini Telescope North in Hawaii, and is pictured to the left. The plume of light is apparently ten times brighter than the surrounding area, but still might be difficult for astronomers to spot without special equipment. The current thinking is that the glowing dots are an eruption of methane ice in the high atmosphere, only visible because it is above the dense cloud cover on the planet.

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