The amazing image of Neptune and its rings captured by the James Webb telescope and how it compares to Hubble images

New images showing Neptune’s rings were released today. They were obtained by the powerful James Webb Space Telescope, which became operational last July. With its infrared instruments, the telescope highlights features of Neptune that were not seen in such detail since Voyager 2 flew by the planet in 1989. These include dust rings and bands that surround the so-called “ice giant”.

Scientists are also intrigued by the different cloud structures, which shed new information about the structure of Neptune’s atmosphere. Beyond the planet itself, there are also seven of the 14 moons that surround it, including the most notable: Triton.

Seven of Neptune's 14 moons
Seven of Neptune’s 14 moonsNASA/ESA/CSA/STSCI

The moon appears as a star in Webb’s images. That’s because Neptune is obscured in the telescope view by methane absorption at infrared wavelengths.

Triton, on the other hand, reflects about 70% of sunlight that falls on its icy surface. It is very bright. Compared to the most recent images of the hubble space telescopewhich operates with technology from three decades ago, the difference is very noticeable.

Professor Leigh Fletcher, from the University of Leicester (UK), was at the Europlanet scientific conference in Granada, Spain, when the image of Neptune was published.

This Hubble Telescope image of Neptune was released on November 18, 2021.
This Hubble Telescope image of Neptune was released on November 18, 2021.THIS

“We were all trying to interpret this on our phones, but it’s amazing to see those rings, and we are accessing wavelengths that no one has seen before,” he explained to the BBC. “It’s great to see excited what are you all!

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“The longer wavelengths are completely new and could give us a window into deep circulation patterns, with a bright equatorial band that looks a bit like the bright bands of Jupiter and Saturn,” he continued.

“Neptune’s powerful storms are as active as ever, and the entire Neptune family is represented here, with those ring moons and Triton.” Neptune is the outermost planet in our Solar System, beyond Uranus and Saturn, followed only by the dwarf planet Pluto.

How the James Webb Space Telescope works
How the James Webb Space Telescope worksPOT

To go around the Sun once, it must travel a distance of approximately 4.5 billion kilometerssomething that each 164.8 Earth years.

Like the other giants in the outer Solar System, its atmosphere contains a lot of hydrogen and helium. But there is a very strong presence of ice, water, ammonia and methane. Neptune’s diameter is about 50,000kmthat’s almost four times that of Earth.

The Article Is In Spanish🡽

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