NASA Scientists Capture Rare Image Of Uranus’ Rings

Since NASA launched its James Webb Telescope back in December 2021, incredible images and discoveries have been shared with the public.

The telescope’s strength allows it to capture space photographs at never-before-seen clarity, and now, Uranus has gotten in on the fun.

Photo: Flickr/NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope License: CC BY 2.0

According to a press release, scientists used the James Webb Telescope to photograph the ice giant planet in a way that’s never been done before.

The press release said, “The new image features dramatic rings as well as bright features in the planet’s atmosphere.”

NASA shared the photo on its NASA Webb Telescope Twitter account, with the caption:

“Uranus has never looked better. Really.

Only Voyager 2 and Keck (with adaptive optics) have imaged the planet’s faintest rings before, and never as clearly as Webb’s first glimpse at this ice giant, which also highlights bright atmospheric features.”

In a follow-up tweet, NASA pointed out the “polar cap (bright white area) on the right side” of the photo.

They said, “Webb reveals, for the first time, a subtle enhanced brightening at its center. This polar cap appears in the direct sunlight of summer and vanishes in the fall. Webb’s data will help us to understand this mystery.”

They also used an exposure image to show the moons around Uranus.

“Uranus has 27 known moons. Most are too small and faint to see, but the 6 brightest are labeled in this wide-view. (The other bright objects are background galaxies.) This was only a 12-minute exposure image! It’s just the tip of the ice(planet)berg for what Webb will uncover,” NASA Webb Telescope tweeted.

Referring to the discovers, NASA said in its press release: “It is just the tip of the iceberg of what Webb can do when observing this mysterious planet.”

It’ll be interesting to see what researchers learn next as technology continues to develop.

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