Saturday, October 1, 2022
Google search engine
HomeNews UpdatesYou've Never Seen Neptune Look Like This

You’ve Never Seen Neptune Look Like This


The image was taken with the Webb Space Telescope’s NIRCam and is the first time Neptune has been seen in infrared.

The image was taken with the Webb Space Telescope’s NIRCam and is the first time Neptune has been seen in infrared.
Image: NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI

The Webb Space Telescope has produced yet another view of a solar system planet, and you may not be able to guess the world from the image alone. The new portrait of Neptune shows its dramatic and often overlooked rings, and the European Space Agency says this is the clearest view of the planet since 1989.

Neptune is so far away that it was only discovered in 1846, and when Pluto was demoted to dwarf planet in 2006, it officially became the outermost planet in the solar system. The new image, taken by Webb’s Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam), shows just how robust Neptune’s ring structure is, and the ESA says that some of these rings have never been imaged before; the others haven’t been seen in detail since Voyager 2’s flyby in 1989.

“It has been three decades since we last saw these faint, dusty rings, and this is the first time we’ve seen them in the infrared,” said Heidi Hammel in a NASA press release. Hammel is a planetary scientist on the Webb Space Telescope team.

Image for article titled You've Never Seen Neptune Look Like This

Image: NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI

Neptune is classified as an ice giant, and the planet is rich is hydrogen and helium with some methane, all of which give Neptune its icy blue appearance  when seen in the visible light spectrum. Webb, however, took this new image in near-infrared, and the planet appears darker, since Neptune’s methane absorbs a large portion of the infrared light it receives. The bright streaks and blobs in the image are high-altitude clouds, which reflect sunlight before it can be absorbed by the planet’s methane. Webb was also able to see seven of Neptune’s 14 moons: Triton, Galatea, Naiad, Thalassa, Larissa, Despina, and Proteus.

It’s easy to overlook the intrigue of Neptune in favor of our closer neighbors like Mars and Venus. But Webb’s latest shot makes me want to learn a whole lot more about this distant world.



Source link

RELATED ARTICLES

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisment -
Google search engine

Most Popular

Recent Comments