June 3, 2023

Great Indian Mutiny

Complete IndianNews World

Uranus’ rings glow in a new Planetary Web image

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has captured the rings of twinkling ice giant Uranus in a new planetary image, along with six of its 27 known moons.

Since blasting into space on Christmas Day 2021, JWST has tirelessly watched the skies, giving astronomers invaluable insights into its work while providing stunning examples of astrophotography working to bring out the beauty of the universe.

While much of the telescope’s time takes up looking at distant galaxies and star nurseries, astronomers also make time in JWST’s busy schedule to observe the planets that make up our solar system. Recently, JWST processors ordered Webb’s great golden eye to take a new image of the icy planet Uranus.

Annotated version of Webb’s new image of the ice giant Uranus. (Credit: Science: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI. Image processing: Joseph DePasquale (STScI))

The image was captured during a 12-minute exposure taken in February with the telescope’s near infrared camera, which specializes in detecting light that is impossible to see with the naked eye. Eleven of Uranus’ 13 known rings can be seen adorning the planet, along with six of its 27 moons.

The latest Webb image also highlights a bright spot in the ice giant’s upper atmosphere known as the polar cap. Scientists don’t yet know what causes this phenomenon, which has been known to occur when the planet’s axis of rotation is in direct sunlight during Uranus’ summer.

Uranus is the only planet in our solar system that rotates on its side relative to the rest of the planets in the solar system, including Earth. Astronomers believe that an ancient collision with an Earth-sized planet caused Uranus to tilt 97 degrees to its side — a strange feat that gives the planet incredibly long and extreme seasons.

See also  Persevering NASA rover monitors "doomed" Mars eclipse with "Potato" moon

JWST is set to devote more telescope time to Uranus in the coming months in an effort to uncover more of the icy planet’s secrets. In the meantime, stick to IGN to stay up to date with the latest in the world of science.

Anthony is a freelance contributor covering science and video game news for IGN. He has more than eight years of experience covering breaking developments in multiple scientific fields and there is absolutely no time to fool you. Follow him on Twitter @BeardConGamer