New Webb Pic Shows Off Neptune’s Dazzling Rings

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NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI

NASA’s mighty James Webb Space Telescope just delivered a picture that shows a side of Neptune you’ve probably never seen before: its rings.

The telescope’s Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) was able to capture what NASA is calling the clearest view of the planet’s rings in more than 30 years. Moreover, the NIRCam was also able to pick up on dust bands around the planet, as well as bright methane-ice clouds reflecting sunlight.

Compare the image to this one taken from by Hubble in 2021, which relies on visible light wavelengths, and you can quickly see how much more powerful Webb is when compared to its decades-old counterpart. The older image of Neptune also shows it appearing blue while Webb’s shows the planet shimmering like a disco ball thanks to its infrared cameras.

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