The James Webb Space Telescope recently captured an image of Uranus, detailing the ice giant’s ring system, the brightest moon and its cozy atmosphere.
The observation, made on February 6, it comes on the heels of a similar image the powerful telescope captured of the solar system’s other ice giant, Neptune.
According to a statement from NASAthe new image of Uranus features “dramatic rings as well as bright features in the planet’s atmosphere.”
“The Webb data show the observatory’s unprecedented sensitivity for the faintest dusty rings, which have only been imaged by two other facilities: the Voyager 2 spacecraft as it flew by the planet in 1986, and the Keck Observatory with an advanced adaptive optics,” NASA. wrote in Thursday’s release.
“Uranus has never looked better,” the NASA Webb Telescope tweeted from its social media account on Thursday.
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The world’s largest and most powerful space telescope is taking pictures of thousands of galaxies – some formed billions of years ago after the Big Bang and some of the smallest objects ever observed.
The telescope is designed to explore every phase of cosmic history, NASA said.
The seventh planet from the Sun, Uranus is unique, according to NASA. The planet rotates on its side, at about a 90-degree angle from the plane of its orbit. This causes extreme seasons as the planet’s poles experience years of continuous sunlight followed by an equal number of years of complete darkness.
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The planet is characterized as an ice giant because of the chemical composition of its interior, the said the space agency. Most of its mass is believed to be a hot, dense liquid of “icy materials – water, methane, and ammonia – above a small rocky core.”
Uranus has 13 known rings and 11 of them are visible in the new photo, NASA reported.
“Some of these rings are so bright in the Webb that when they get close together, they appear to merge into a larger ring,” according to NASA. “Nine are classified as the planet’s main rings, and two are fainter dusty rings (like the diffuse zeta ring closest to the planet) that were not discovered until the 1986 flyby of Voyager 2.”
The powerful telescope also captured many of Uranus’ 27 known moons, NASA wrote.
“This is just the tip of the iceberg of what Webb can do when observing this mysterious planet.”
Natalie Neysa Alund covers breaking and trending news for USA TODAY. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @nataliealund.