Science Daily: Neptune

Twilight observations reveal huge storm on Neptune

Striking images of a storm system nearly the size of Earth have astronomers doing a double-take after pinpointing its location near Neptune's equator, a region where no bright cloud has been seen before. The discovery was made at dawn on June 26 as researchers were testing the Keck telescope to see whether it could make useful observations during twilight, a time most astronomers consider unusable because it's not dark enough.

Neptune: Neutralizer-free plasma propulsion

Plasma propulsion concepts are gridded-ion thrusters that accelerate and emit more positively charged particles than negatively charged ones. To enable the spacecraft to remain charge-neutral, a 'neutralizer' injects electrons to exactly balance the positive ion charge in the exhaust beam, but this neutralizer requires additional power from the spacecraft. Researchers are investigating how the radio-frequency self-bias effect can be used to remove the neutralizer altogether.

Primitive atmosphere discovered around 'Warm Neptune'

A pioneering new study uncovering the 'primitive atmosphere' surrounding a distant world could provide a pivotal breakthrough in the search to how planets form and develop in far-flung galaxies.