New Space Telescope Photos Shows Neptune In A Whole New Light

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Neptune and its rings haven’t seemed this good in a long time.

NASA launched new glamour photographs of our photo voltaic system’s outermost planet Wednesday taken by the James Webb Space Telescope. The photographs taken in July present not solely Neptune’s skinny rings, however its faint mud bands, by no means earlier than noticed within the infrared, in addition to seven of its 14 recognized moons.

Webb confirmed Jupiter at its finest in a sequence of contemporary pictures launched final month.

Launched lower than a 12 months in the past, the $10 billion Webb is spending most of its time peering a lot deeper into the universe. Astronomers hope to see again to virtually the start of time when the primary stars and galaxies have been forming.

NASA’s Voyager 2 was the primary spacecraft to see Neptune in all its gaseous glory, throughout a 1989 flyby. No different spacecraft have visited the icy, blue planet. So it’s been three a long time since astronomers final noticed these rings with such element and readability, mentioned the Space Science Institute’s Heidi Hammel, a planetary astronomer working with Webb.

This composite picture offered by NASA on Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022, reveals three side-by-side photos of Neptune. From left, a photograph of Neptune taken by Voyager 2 in 1989, Hubble in 2021, and Webb in 2022. In seen gentle, Neptune seems blue resulting from small quantities of methane fuel in its ambiance. Webb’s Close to-Infrared Digital camera as an alternative noticed Neptune at near-infrared wavelengths, the place Neptune resembles a pearl with skinny, concentric oval rings. (NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI through AP)

Hammel tweeted that she wept when she noticed the rings, yelling and making “my kids, my mom, even my cats look.”

Webb is the world’s largest, strongest telescope, working 1 million miles (1.6 million kilometers) from Earth. It rocketed into house final December.

The observatory is in good well being, based on NASA, apart from one merchandise.

NASA reported this week {that a} mechanism on certainly one of Webb’s devices confirmed indicators of elevated friction late final month in certainly one of 4 observing modes. Observations are on maintain on this one explicit observing monitor, as a overview board decides on a path ahead.

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