NASA releases stunning new Neptune ring photos by Webb telescope

It has been three decades since astronomers last saw Neptune’s rings in such detail and clarity.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Neptune and its rings haven’t looked this good in decades.

NASA on Wednesday released new glamor images of our solar system’s outermost planet, taken by the James Webb Space Telescope. The images taken in July show not only Neptune’s thin rings, but also its faint bands of dust, never seen before in the infrared, and seven of its 14 known moons.

Webb showed Jupiter at its best in a series of new photos released last month.

Launched less than a year ago, the $10 billion Webb spends most of its time looking much deeper into the universe. Astronomers hope to be able to go back almost to the beginning of time when the first stars and galaxies formed.

NASA’s Voyager 2 was the first spacecraft to see Neptune in all its gaseous glory during a flyby in 1989. No other spacecraft has visited the icy, blue planet. So it’s been three decades since astronomers last saw these rings in such detail and clarity, said Heidi Hammel of the Space Science Institute, a planetary astronomer who works with Webb.

mutton tweeted that she cried when she saw the rings, screamed and “made my children, my mother, even my cats look”.

Webb is the largest and most powerful telescope in the world, operating 1 million miles from Earth. It shot into space last December.

The observatory is in good condition with the exception of one item, according to NASA.

NASA reported this week that a mechanism on one of Webb’s instruments showed signs of increased friction in one of four observation modes late last month. Observations are suspended in this one particular observation lane while a review board decides on another path.

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content. NASA releases stunning new Neptune ring photos by Webb telescope

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