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Flashing smoke and fire from Uranus is no laughing matter

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Scientists using the W. M. Keck II Telescope in August captured some pretty amazing pictures of eight massive bright spots on Uranus. Appearing to be massive firestorms, the bright spots are actually the wavelength of storms in the Uranus atmosphere. Scientists believe the flashes of light are caused by methane gas rising into the atmosphere, freezing into crystals, and then reflecting sunlight away from the planet.

The strength of the storms is highly unusual – the intensity of which is normally only seen once every four decades during Uranus’s 42-year equinox (which peaked last in 2007).

[Editor’s note: Brian said it’s okay to describe the cause of the storms on Uranus but said that under no circumstances were we allowed to insert jokes about scientists sending probes to Uranus.]

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