NASA has turned its powerful James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) at Uranus.
This JWST image shows 11 of the ice giant’s 13 rings in unprecedented detail.
NASA said the image could shed light on the planet’s unique and mysterious polar cap.
NASA recently released a new image of Uranus Taken by the powerful James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).
Images show a whole new side of the planet with the powerful space observatory capturing 11 of the ice giant’s 13 rings in unprecedented detail.
Pictures appear side by side once again How powerful is JWST from NASA’s other space observatory, the Hubble Space Telescope, when it comes to infrared imaging.
Webb’s data demonstrate the observatory’s unprecedented sensitivity to the faintest dusty rings, which had only been imaged by only two other facilities: the Voyager 2 spacecraft when it flew over the planet in 1986, and the Keck Observatory with Advanced Adaptive Optics, NASA. He said In a press release April 6.
JWST didn’t just take over the planet. It also took a broad look at the planetary system of Uranus, including six of its brightest moons
JWST captured this image with a single 12-minute exposure. NASA hopes to do so by turning the telescope towards Uranus Again, JWST can obtain better resolution images of our icy neighbor.
The mysterious rings of Uranus continue to impress
Although this image provides a new view of the planet, this isn’t the first time scientists have taken a picture of Uranus’ rings.
Voyager 2, the NASA space probe that’s still sending back data 45 years after its launch, He provided insight into the rings of Uranus when he sailed past the planet in 1986.
The probe discovered two new, fainter rings, bringing the number of known rings around the planet to 11.
These two faint rings have only been seen clearly by Voyager 2 and the Keck Observatory on Earth. Hubble has never been able to see these rings, although it did detect two more faint outer rings about 20 years ago, which brought the planet’s known ring number to 13.
Hubble sees ultraviolet light, visible light, and a small slice of infrared, while the James Webb Space Telescope looks at the universe through the infrared spectrum, from the inside Previously mentioned.
Much larger web Mirror It means its images can provide better-resolution images than Hubble’s infrared images, the spectrum of light used to take these images of Uranus.
NASA hopes that the two faint outer rings will be visible to JWST the next time it turns its attention to Uranus.
It’s not just Uranus’ rings that are getting attention
The JWST image also provides a good look at Uranus’ mysterious polar cap.
Uranus is A bit strange The planet is tilted about 100 degrees relative to its orbit around the sun, possibly as a result of an Earth-sized moon being smashed out of its orbit thousands of years ago.
This means that the planet appears to rotate sideways as it orbits the sun.
Since Uranus takes 82 years to revolve around the sun, its seasons are long-lasting. Half the planet plunges into a 21-year winter every Oran year.
Scientists are most interested in a unique feature that develops each summer on Uran: a polar cap that appears on the side facing the sun.
“This polar cap is unique to Uranus — it seems to appear when the pole enters direct sunlight in the summer and disappears in the fall,” NASA said in a press release, adding, “This Webb data will help scientists understand the currently mysterious mechanism.”
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