The sharpest image of the planet Neptune in more than 30 years. This is how the European Space Agency has cataloged the new snapshots sent by the space telescope james webb of the frozen giant. The largest astronomical observatory ever launched into space has managed to stably capture the faintest dust bands surrounding the planet, which had not been seen with this clarity since the probe photographed them Voyager 2 in 1989.
The eighth planet of the solar system, to the naked eye with a characteristic blue hue due to its composition rich in hydrogen and helium, this time it looks quite dark because of the wavelengths detected by the telescope’s infrared camera (NIRCam) webb. High-altitude cloud clusters stand out for the first time in the satellite images, which are bright because they reflect sunlight before it is absorbed by the planet’s methane gas.
Among the additional material that the probe has sent, the Triton satellite stands out, one of the 14 known moons of Neptune so far, and which is the brightest point in the entire catalog because it reflects 70% of the sunlight that reaches it thanks to its frozen nitrogen composition.
Neptune was discovered in 1846 by the German astronomer Johann Gottfried Galle, and is located in one of the darkest areas of the solar system, where it was photographed by the probe Voyager 2 in 1989.
In visible light, Neptune appears blue due to small amounts of methane gas in its atmosphere. Webb’s NIRCam instrument instead observed Neptune at near-infrared wavelengths, so Neptune doesn’t look so blue! pic.twitter.com/aZZa8B8x4f
— NASA Webb Telescope (@NASAWebb) September 21, 2022
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