Following in the footsteps of the Neptune image released in 2022, the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope has taken a stunning image of the solar system’s other ice giant, the planet Uranus. The new image features dramatic rings as well as bright features in the planet’s atmosphere.
The Webb data demonstrate the observatory’s unprecedented sensitivity by revealing the faintest dusty rings, which have only ever been imaged by two other facilities: the Voyager 2 spacecraft as it flew past the planet in 1986, and the Keck Observatory with advanced adaptive optics.
The seventh planet from the sun, Uranus is unique: it rotates on its side, at a nearly 90-degree angle from the plane of its orbit. This causes extreme seasons since the planet’s poles experience many years of constant sunlight followed by an equal number of years of complete darkness. (Uranus takes 84 years to orbit the sun.)