The James Webb Space Telescope recently captured a picture of Uranus, detailing the ice giant’s ring structure, its bright moons, and its vibrant atmosphere.
Observation, made on February 6, It comes on the heels of a similar photo captured by powerful telescopes of Neptune, another ice giant in the solar system.
According to a news release by NASAA new photo of Uranus “contains dramatic rings and bright features in the planet’s atmosphere.”
“The Web data demonstrate the observatory’s unprecedented sensitivity to faint dusty rings, which have been imaged by only two other facilities: the Voyager 2 spacecraft when it passed the planet in 1986, and the Keck Observatory with advanced adaptive optics,” NASA wrote in a Thursday release.
“Uranus has never looked better,” NASA’s Web Telescope said tweeted from its social media Account Thursday.
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Extreme seasons due to years of sun and darkness
The world’s largest and most powerful space telescope is capturing images of thousands of galaxies — some of them formed after the Big Bang billions of years ago and some faint objects that have never been observed before.
According to NASA, this telescope is designed to examine every phase of cosmic history.
Uranus, the seventh planet from the Sun, is unique. According to NASA. The planet rotates on its side at an angle of approximately 90 degrees from the plane of its orbit. This causes extreme seasons as the planet’s poles experience years of constant sunlight, followed by an equal number of years of total darkness.
Blurry rings caught on camera
The planet is classified as an ice giant due to the chemical composition of its interior The space agency said. Most of its mass is thought to be “a hot, dense liquid of icy materials – water, methane and ammonia – above a small rocky core”.
Uranus has 13 known rings, 11 of which can be seen in the new photo, NASA said.
According to NASA, “some of these rings are very bright along the web, and when they are close together, they merge into one large ring.” “Nine are classified as the planet’s main rings, and two faint dusty rings (such as the diffuse zeta ring closest to the planet) were not discovered until a 1986 flyby by Voyager 2.”
The powerful telescope captured many of Uranus’ 27 known moons, NASA wrote.
“What Webb can do when tracking this mysterious planet is only the tip of the iceberg.”
Natalie Neysa Alund covers breaking and trending news for USA TODAY. Reach her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @nataliealund.