Neptune orbits the sun at the very edge of the solar system, and although it's technically known as an "ice giant" its atmospheric dynamics are far from frozen.
In recent observations of the azure planet, the Hubble Space Telescope followed up on ground-based observations to find a dark spot has appeared in the upper atmosphere. The spot is indicative of a vortex, or a high pressure region, which is accompanied by vast bright clouds that now tower over the swirling mass.
RELATED: Ice Giant Neptune's Fiery Glow
This isn't the first time such a feature has appeared; similar features were observed during the Voyager 2 flyby in 1989 and by Hubble in 1994, but this is the first dark vortex to appear on Neptune in the 21st Century.
"Dark vortices coast through the atmosphere like huge, lens-shaped gaseous mountains," said astronomer Mike Wong, of the University of California at Berkeley, in a statement. "And the companion clouds are similar to so-called orographic clouds that appear as pancake-shaped features lingering over mountains on Earth."