Neptune with rings? Check out this surprising discovery from NASA with the James Webb Space Telescope
We all knew that with the launch of the NASA and ESA James Webb Space Telescope, a lot of hidden secrets in the universe were going to be discovered. However, it never ceases to amaze us every time information is revealed that no one knew or that was only in theory.
The most recent is an image to which the NASA official website qualifies as the clearest view in decades. James Webb’s super lenses pointed at our own Solar System and photographed Neptune.
What did the scientists find when they downloaded the data? Well, the eighth planet in our Solar System, the furthest relative to the distance from the massive star we orbit, it has amazing rings like Saturn’s.
Neptune’s rings had been seen by the space probe Voyager 2 in its passage through the planet more than 30 years ago. However, this ship does not have the tools capable of emitting a clear image of its stellar journey.
NASA reviews on its website that “the most surprising thing about Webb’s new image is the clear view of the planet’s rings. In addition to several narrow, bright rings, Webb’s image clearly shows Neptune’s fainter dust lanes.”
“It’s 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 Neptune system expert Heidi Hammel. “Webb’s extremely stable and precise image quality allows these very faint rings to be detected,” she added.
Neptune’s 164-year orbit means its north pole, at the top of this image, is out of sight for astronomers, but the Webb images hint at an intriguing glow in that area. A previously known vortex at the south pole is evident in the new space telescope’s view, but for the first time the instruments revealed a continuous band of high-latitude clouds surrounding it.