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James Webb telescope captures clear pictures of ringed Neptune

Washington: The James Webb Space Telescope has captured its first picture of Neptune, revealing the clearest view of the distant planet’s rings in additional than 30 years, NASA mentioned.

The most striking characteristic in the picture is the crisp view of the planet’s rings — some of which have not been detected since NASA’s Voyager 2 turned the primary spacecraft to observe Neptune during its flyby in 1989, the US space agency said.



In addition to several shiny, slim rings, the Webb image clearly reveals Neptune’s fainter mud bands.

“It has been three a long time since we last noticed these faint, dusty rings, and this is the first time we now have seen them in the infrared,” Heidi Hammel, a Neptune system skilled and interdisciplinary scientist for Webb said in a press release.

Neptune is situated 30 occasions farther from the Sun than Earth, and orbits within the remote, dark area of the outer solar system.

The planet is characterised as an ice big because of the chemical make-up of its inside. Compared to the gas giants, Jupiter and Saturn, Neptune is far richer in parts heavier than hydrogen and helium.

This is readily apparent in Neptune’s signature blue look in Hubble Space Telescope photographs at visible wavelengths, brought on by small quantities of gaseous methane. Webb’s Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) images objects in the near-infrared vary from zero.6 to 5 microns, so Neptune does not seem blue to the telescope.



The methane gasoline so strongly absorbs purple and infrared light that the planet is kind of dark at these near-infrared wavelengths, besides the place high-altitude clouds are present, the researchers said.

Images from other observatories, including the Hubble Space Telescope and the W.M. Keck Observatory, have recorded these rapidly evolving cloud features through the years.

A thin line of brightness circling the planet’s equator could be a visible signature of worldwide atmospheric circulation that powers Neptune’s winds and storms, according to NASA.

The environment descends and warms at the equator, and thus glows at infrared wavelengths greater than the encompassing, cooler gases, it said. A previously-known vortex on the southern pole is evident in Webb’s view, but for the first time Webb has revealed a steady band of high-latitude clouds surrounding it.

Webb also captured seven of Neptune’s 14 identified moons. A very brilliant point of sunshine seen in Webb’s pictures is Neptune’s massive and strange moon, Triton.



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