James Webb Telescope Captures Ringed Neptune

The recently launched super space telescope James Webb has returned spectacular new imagery of Neptune.

The observatory’s infrared instruments highlight features not seen in such detail since the Voyager 2 probe flew past the planet in 1989.

These include the rings and dust bands that encircle the ice giant.

Scientists are also intrigued by the different cloud structures, which should tell them something novel about the workings of Neptune’s atmosphere.

Beyond the planet itself are seven of the giant’s 14 moons, the most significant of which is Triton.

It appears star-like in the Webb imagery.

That’s because Neptune is darkened in the telescope’s view by methane absorption at infrared wavelengths. Triton, on the other hand, reflects an average of 70% of the sunlight that strikes its icy surface. It’s very bright.

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