The James Webb Space Telescope recently captured an image of Uranus, detailing the ice giant’s ring system, its bright moons, and its gentle atmosphere.
The observation made on February 6, On the heels of a similar image is the powerful telescope taken by the other icy giant in the solar system, Neptune.
According to a NASA press releaseThe new image of Uranus features “dramatic rings as well as bright features in the planet’s atmosphere.”
“Webb’s data demonstrate the observatory’s unprecedented sensitivity to the faintest dusty rings, which were only imaged by two other facilities: the Voyager 2 spacecraft when it flew over the planet in 1986, and the Keck Observatory with Advanced Adaptive Optics,” NASA wrote in a statement Thursday.
NASA’s Webb Telescope ‘Uranus has never looked better’ tweets from his social media account on Thursday.
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Harsh seasons due to years of sun and then darkness
The world’s largest and most powerful space telescope captures images of thousands of galaxies – some of which formed billions of years after the Big Bang and some of the faintest objects ever observed.
NASA says the telescope is designed to explore every stage of cosmic history.
The seventh planet from the sun, Uranus is unique, According to NASA. The planet rotates on its side at an angle of about 90 degrees from the plane of its orbit. This causes extreme seasons since the planet’s poles experience many years of continuous sunlight followed by an equal number of years of complete darkness.
Faint rings were captured on camera
The planet is characterized as an ice giant due to the chemical composition of its interior, which is space agency said. Most of its mass is thought to be a hot, thick fluid of “icy material—water, methane, ammonia—over a small, rocky core.”
NASA reports that Uranus has 13 known rings, and 11 of them can be seen in the new image.
According to NASA: “Some of these rings are so bright with Webb that when they are close together, they seem to merge into a larger ring.” Nine are classified as the planet’s major rings, and two are the faint dusty rings (such as the planet’s diffuse Zeta ring) that weren’t discovered until 1986 by Voyager 2.
NASA writes that the powerful telescope also captured many of the 27 known moons of Uranus.
“It’s just the tip of the iceberg of what Webb can do when observing this mysterious planet.”
Natalie Nessa Allonde covers breaking and trending news for USA TODAY. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @employee.
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