NASA unveils never-before-seen images of the planet Neptune captured by the James-Webb telescope
Author: Clark Tos
Notice to astronomy enthusiasts (and others): the James-Webb Space Telescope has captured never-before-seen images of the planet Neptune and its rings.
The James-Webb Space Telescope has unveiled new images of the planet Neptune and its rings, announced the NASA Wednesday, September 21. These photographs provide valuable information on its atmosphere.
Photo Credit: Space Telescope Science Institute / ESA/WEBB / AFP
Neptune: impressive images
You may not know it, but astronomers have not had such a precise view of the most distant planet in the Solar System since the short and unique passage of a space probe (Voyager-2) in the vicinity of this ice giant in 1989.
The telescope's infrared vision offers a new way to analyze its atmosphere, said Mark McCaughrean, adviser for science and exploration at the European Space Agency.
In an interview with Agence France-Presse, the specialist explains that the telescope eliminates all the glare due to the reflection of the Sun on the surface of Neptune, as well as the light pollution of its environment so as to “ begin to guess the atmospheric composition ».
That’s no star. It’s Neptune’s large, unusual moon, Triton! Because Triton is covered in frozen, condensed nitrogen, it reflects 70% of the sunlight that hits it — making it appear very bright to Webb. 6 of Neptune’s other moons (labeled) are also seen here. pic.twitter.com/xJCsE8bn3q— NASA Webb Telescope (@NASAWebb) September 21, 2022
Note that on the images captured by the Hubble telescope, Neptune had a bluish appearance due to the presence of methane in its atmosphere. With the James-Webb's NIRCam instrument, which works in the near infrared, the planet takes on a colored hue in a greyish white. The image also shows 'a strange light' at one of Neptune's major poles, the NASA in a press release.
Neptune in a new light!— Hubble (@NASAHubble) September 21, 2022
Hubble’s view of this planet looks pretty different from @NASAWebb 's new image, on the right.
That’s because these two telescopes looked at the planet in different wavelengths of light. pic.twitter.com/omelj0ZkDX
Finally, the telescope also captured the image of seven of the planet's fourteen known moons. This is particularly the case with Triton, the natural satellite which resembles a small star in its brightness.
Astronomers looking for planets outside our solar system have found that those like Neptune or Uranus are the most common: The ability to observe these closely will facilitate the observation of others (icy giants) orbiting other stars than our Sun, revealed the scientist.Source : The World / AFP