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Neptune: Image from the James Webb Space Telescope shows the planet's rings


The James Webb Space Telescope makes it possible: Neptune appears in a new light, its rings are clearly visible. The recording also points to unexplored conditions on the planet.

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Photo: Joseph DePasquale/NASA/ESA/CSA/STScI

Images of Jupiter were published by the US space agency Nasa in August, and now the outermost known planet in our solar system can also be seen with particular sharpness: the James Webb space telescope has taken a spectacular new image of Neptune.

The rings of the ice giant can be seen in the picture with exceptional clarity, as announced by the European space agency Esa.

Some of the rings have not been seen at all since Voyager 2 flew by in 1989.

The dust bands around the planet are also clearly visible.

A thin bright line around the equator could be a sign of the atmospheric circulation driving Neptune's winds and storms.

The North Pole is no longer visible to the telescope.

However, the recordings indicated an unusual brightness in the region.

"James Webb" was built jointly by the space agencies in Europe (ESA), the USA (Nasa) and Canada (CSA) and was launched on December 25th on board an Ariane launch vehicle from the European spaceport Kourou in French Guiana - after there had previously been cost explosions and repeated postponements.

The first images from the telescope were published in mid-July and provided the deepest and most detailed insights into space to date.

According to Esa, it is the largest and most powerful telescope ever launched into space.

Neptune is 30 times farther from the sun than Earth and orbits in one of the faintest regions of our solar system.

As Esa writes in the message, the brightness of midday on Neptune is comparable to twilight on Earth.


Source: spiegel

All tech articles on 2022-09-22

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