In the latest image from the James Webb Telescope, the icy planet Uranus creates a meditative atmosphere with glowing moons and storms.
Christmas is four days away – there is a festive mood even in the space. Maybe it’s only in the eye of the beholder when you think of a Christmas ball when you see this image from the James Webb Telescope.
Either way: the latest image of Uranus is beautiful. Shows the planet’s north polar cap and inner and outer rings. Also nine of the planet’s 27 moons – clockwise, are: Rosalind, Puck, Belinda, Desdemona, Cressida, Bianca, Portia, Juliet and Perdita.
More information about the Uranus snapshot
The image is an expansion of a two-tone version released earlier this year and covers additional wavelengths to provide a more detailed look. Using his high sensitivity, Webb captured Uranus’ faint inner and outer rings, including the elusive Zeta ring – the faint, diffuse ring closest to the planet.
James Webb recently set his sights on the planet Uranus: Earth would fit 64 times the wide world of the third-largest planet in the solar system. Despite its size, Uranus rotates rapidly, with a day lasting 17 hours and 14 minutes.
Because Uranus rotates at an inclination of about 98 degrees, it experiences one of the most extreme seasons in the solar system. For nearly a quarter of a Uranian year, the Sun rises over one pole, plunging the other half into a 21-year dark winter.
Why all this?
Webb has now been able to image the dynamic world of Uranus in great detail, which could help with future missions there and in the study of exoplanets of similar size. Ultimately, researchers want to understand our solar system as a whole.
For nearly two years, the James Webb Space Telescope has been the world’s most important observatory for space research. It is an international program led by NASA and its partners, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency.
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