NASA has unveiled the ice titan, Uranus, in a new light (quite literally), with 11 of its 13 rings peering over its surface.
Introduced in December of 2021, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) stands to be a formidable watcher of the cosmos, providing a giant leap for mankind into astrophotography through its extensive wavelength coverage at heightened resolutions. Webb features a 6.5 m (21.6 ft) primary mirror, with its course set to orbit the Sun—1.5 million kilometers away from Earth (also known as the second lagrange point or L2).
Renowned for its captivating images of the beyond, the newly surfaced photo utilizes the telescope’s Near Infrared capabilities, capturing the planets 11 of its 13 known rings, accompanied by six moons out of the 27 discovered. Uranus’ frigid classification stems from its chemical makeup of water, methane, and ammonia—as its mass is depicted to be a hot, dense fluid of “icy” materials.
By being able to detect light imperceivable to the naked eye, the portrait highlights Uranus’ polar cap, a phenomenon observed “when the planet’s rotational axis coincides with direct sunlight during the planet’s summer season.” The 12-minute exposure image of the planet breathes limitless, as more exploration procedures are underway with the planet listed as a priority in NASA’s Planetary Science and Astrobiology decadal survey.