The James Webb Space Telescope has once again demonstrated its ability to bring images from deep space to our screen. He recently photographed the mysterious rings of Neptune, and who has not been filmed in such detail for a long time. But that’s not all, the planet itself also offers us one of the most spectacular views of our solar system, as taught by NASA.

Decades have passed since scientists last saw Neptune’s rings. Like Saturn and Jupiter this gas giant has concentric structures located in its orbit. However, unlike the former, Neptune’s rings are so faint that they are almost invisible in visible light.

It’s been three decades since we last saw those dull, dusty rings.and we are seeing them for the first time in the infrared,” says Heidi Hummel, Neptune expert and multidisciplinary scientist at the James Webb Project.

This is a new view of Neptune proposed by James Webb.

Neptune image taken by James Webb and published by NASA.
NASA image

James Webb was able to capture the rings that they haven’t been photographed since 1989. In the same year, the Voyager 2 probe was the first to prove the existence of Neptune’s rings using photographs, and since then, some of these formations have not been seen again.

But the planet itself also offers amazing insight. Unlike the blue color that it is always represented with, in these images we can see it in bright white. The reason is due to its constituent gas, methane, which is not captured in blue by James Webb’s NIRCam camera.

Why can’t the telescope see blue gas? As NASA comments in their original publication, “methane gas absorbs red and infrared light so strongly that the planet is quite dark at these near-infrared wavelengths, except when there are high-altitude clouds.”

These clouds of methane ice are also visible in the image.. These are those bright spots and streaks on the planet that reflect large amounts of sunlight before absorbing it again. Also, if you look closely at Neptune’s equator, you can see a thin line around it. This is a visual signal of the atmospheric circulation that causes storms and winds on the planet.

You can also see the moons of Neptune.

NASA image

Another unusual observation is related to the satellites of Neptune. In total, the planet has 14 satellites, and in the image we see seven of them. Among them we have Triton, the largest and brightest of them all., and that astronomers agree that it was once a Kuiper belt object. However, at some point in the formation of the solar system, it was drawn into the orbit of Neptune, where it has remained anchored to this day.

The remaining satellites can be seen closer to the planet. it Galatea, Naiad, Despina, Proteus, Talas and Larisa. Thus, in total, the image shows about 7 moons out of 14 that make up the firmament of the planet.

Source: Hiper Textual

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