Subscribe up for interesting CNN Theory of financial science. Explore the universe with news about exciting discoveries, scientific advances and more.
The James Webb Space Telescope has captured a stunning new image of the ice giant Uranus, with nearly all of its faint dusty circles visible.
The image is representative of the telescope’s significant sensitivity, NASA said, since fainter rings have only been captured before by the Voyager 2 spacecraft and the WM Keck Observatory at Maunakea in Hawaii.
Uranus has 13 known rings, with 11 of them visible in the new image of Webb. Nine main rings are distinguished, while the other two are harder to capture due to their dusty makeup and were not discovered until the Voyager 2 flyby mission in 1986. The other two, faint outer rings found in this latest image, are not. 2007 from pictures taken NASA’s Hubble Space Telescopeand Webb scholars will take them into the future.
“The ring system of the planet tells us a lot about its origins and formation,” said Dr. Naomi Rowe-Gurney, postdoctoral research scientist and solar system ambassador for the Webb Space Telescope at NASA’s Goddard Center in Greenbelt, Maryland; by email
“Uranus is such an alien world with its transverse inclinations and lack of internal heat that anything we can infer about its history is very powerful.”
Scientists anticipate that future Webb images will be able to capture all 13 rings. Rowe-Gurney also expects the telescope to reveal more of the atmospheric composition of Uranus, helping scientists better understand this unusual gas giant.
The observatory’s powerful near infrared camera, or NIRCam, can detect infrared light not visible to the astrologers.
“JWST gives us the ability to see Uranus and Neptune in a completely new way that an infrared telescope of this size has never seen before,” Rowe-Gurney said. “Infrared can show us new depths and features that are difficult to see from Earth with the atmosphere in the way and invisible telescopes that look in visible light like Hubble.”
Located 1.8 billion miles (almost 3 billion kilometers) from our sun, Uranus takes 84 years to complete a full rotation. The planet is unique on its side in that it displays its rings vertically, unlike Saturn’s horizontal ring system.
The orbit of Uranus’ north pole has been covered by a bright light that NASA announced before its arrival with the pole in the direct sun in summer. The atmospheric layer seems to get clearer every year according to the space agent. With the exact mechanism behind the cloak unknown, scientists are using telescope images of the polar cap to analyze this new image of Webb.
In original images of Voyager 2 He took Uranus, a blue planet with no features. In this new Webb image, similar to other recent images by the Hubble Space Telescope, nebula can be seen at the edge of the polar cap. The kindness of Uranus causes extreme weather and this storm, and scientists are monitoring and documenting the changes of the seasons by collecting telescope images.
NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope also captured the white polar cap of Uranus in November, highlighting the brightness of the mantle in comparison to images observed from previous years. The new Webb image depicts the polar cap more richly than what is shown in the Hubble image, with finer detail in the center of the cap. The clouds are more overcast, which can be seen around the edges.
Uranus has been identified as the first study in 2022 by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. “Additional studies of Uranus are underway, and more are planned during the first year of Webb’s science operation,” said a NASA release in the following announcement.