Exoplanets: Huge, tornado-like storms may develop in sets of four

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A simulation of a modon storm, with blue swirls of storm clouds turning counter-clockwise and green swirls of storms turning clockwise

Simulation of a modon on an exoplanet, with storms that rotate in opposite directions at opposite poles

J. W. Skinner, Queen Mary University of London and J. Y-K. Cho, Flatiron Institute

Some giant planets may have two enormous pairs of storms that stir up their atmospheres. These colossal couples, called modons, spin in opposite directions and are expected to completely dominate the dynamics of their worlds.

Many huge exoplanets that orbit close to their stars, called hot Jupiters, are expected to become tidally locked, meaning that the same side of the planet faces the star at all times. Because the heat from the star is …

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