(CNN) The James Webb Space Telescope has captured a stunning new image of the ice giant Uranus, with nearly all of its faint dusty rings on display.
NASA said the image represented the telescope’s remarkable sensitivity, as the faint rings had previously only been captured by the Voyager 2 spacecraft and the WM Keck Observatory in Mauna Kea, Hawaii.
Uranus has 13 known rings, 11 of which are visible In the new web image. Nine rings are classified as main rings, while the other two are difficult to capture due to their dusty makeup and were not discovered until the Voyager 2 mission flyby in 1986. Two other faint outer rings were discovered, not shown in this latest image. From pictures taken in 2007 NASA’s Hubble Space TelescopeAnd scientists believe the Web will overtake them in the future.
“A planet’s ring structure tells us a lot about its origin and formation,” said Dr. Naomi Rowe-Kurney, postdoctoral research scientist and solar system ambassador for the Webb Space Telescope at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, via email.
“Uranus is a strange world, with its lateral tilt and lack of internal heat, so any clues we can get about its history are extremely valuable.”
Scientists hope that future web images will be able to capture all 13 rings. Rowe-Kurney hopes the telescope will further detect the composition of Uranus’ atmosphere, helping scientists better understand this unusual gas giant.
The space lab’s powerful near-infrared camera, or NIRCam, can detect infrared light differently. Astronomers don’t know.
“JWST gives us the ability to look at both Uranus and Neptune in a completely new way because we don’t have a telescope of this size in the infrared,” Rowe-Kurney said. “Infrared can show us new depths and features that are difficult to see from the ground with the atmosphere and invisible to visible-light telescopes like Hubble.”
More about Uranus
Located 1.8 billion miles (almost 3 billion kilometers) from our Sun, Uranus takes 84 years to complete one full revolution. Unlike Saturn’s horizontal ring system, the planet is unique in that it is tilted on its side, causing its rings to point vertically.
NASA previously reported that a bright haze surrounds the north pole of Uranus During summer when the pole is exposed to direct sunlight. According to the space agency, atmospheric haze is getting brighter every year. While the exact mechanism behind the haze is unknown, scientists study the polar cap using telescope images like this new web image.
In Original images Voyager 2 Taking Uranus, the planet appeared as a featureless blue ball. In this new web image, similar to other recent images from the Hubble Space Telescope, storm clouds can be seen at the edge of the polar cap. The tilt of Uranus causes extreme seasons and this stormy weather, and scientists Track and document changes Compare telescope images over time.
NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope also captured Uranus’ bright white polar cap in November, highlighting the haze’s growing brightness compared to images from previous years. The new Web image depicts the polar cap in much greater detail than the Hubble image, with a subtle glow in the center of the cap and Also pronounced storm clouds are seen around the edges.
Identified as Uranus Preferred to study in 2022 by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. “Additional exploration of Uranus is now underway, and science activities are planned for the first year of the Web,” a NASA release said. Following notification.