NASA's Webb captures the clearest image of Neptune's rings in 30 years

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has honed in on the eighth planet from the Sun and snapped the clearest image of its rings in more than 30 years.

NASA's Webb captures the clearest image of Neptune's rings in 30 years
Published Sep 22, 2022 12:03 AM CDT
1 minute & 21 seconds read time

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is honing in on planets in our solar system, with NASA's newest observatory focusing its instruments on Neptune.

NASA's Webb captures the clearest image of Neptune's rings in 30 years 02 | TweakTown.com

NASA has announced in a new release that researchers have used Webb's Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) to reveal an incredible view of Neptune's rings, which haven't been imaged at this level of clarity since NASA's Voyager 2 probe flew past the planet in 1989. Neptune is located approximately 30 times father from the Sun than Earth, making it our solar system's most distant planet.

Additionally, planets such as Neptune and Uranus are ice giants and are different to the gas giants such as Jupiter and Saturn. Ice giants are mostly composed of gaseous methane versus gas giants being almost entirely composed of hydrogen and helium. The methane that is present in ice giants such as Neptune and Uranus give it the blue color when observed through the visual light spectrum.

NASA's Webb captures the clearest image of Neptune's rings in 30 years 01 | TweakTown.com

Furthermore, the above image showcases Neptune's nitrogen-covered moon Triton, which is outshining the planet in terms of brightness. Since Neptune is mostly methane and methane strongly absorbs infrared light, Webb's infrared camera that was used to observe the planet shows Neptune being relatively dim when compared to Triton. The white streaks or specks seen across the surface of Neptune are a result of high altitude methane ice that is reflecting sunlight.

In other space news, a video of an incredible fireball streaking across the night sky has been confirmed by officials to be a meteor approximately the size of a golf ball.

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Jak joined the TweakTown team in 2017 and has since reviewed 100s of new tech products and kept us informed daily on the latest science and space news. Jak's love for science, space, and technology, and, more specifically, PC gaming, began at 10 years old. It was the day his dad showed him how to play Age of Empires on an old Compaq PC. Ever since that day, Jak fell in love with games and the progression of the technology industry in all its forms. Instead of typical FPS, Jak holds a very special spot in his heart for RTS games.

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