NASA has released new images of Uranus, offering a glimpse of a rarely seen feature


NASA on Monday released stunning new images detailing new images of Uranus, revealing a stunning look at its glowing rings and a rarely seen feature.

The images, taken by NASA’s high-powered James Webb Space Telescope, captured the icy planet with its multiple inner and outer rings, nine of its 27 known moons and a seasonal polar cap.

New images offer a rare glimpse of the “elusive” Zeta ring, the faint, very diffuse ring closest to the planet – appearing reddish-brown.

Multiple other rings were captured in glowing blue.

The high-powered Webb telescope also captured snapshots of atmospheric events on the frozen planet, including Uranus’s seasonal north pole cloud cover and several nearby storms.

Images of Uranus were taken by the James Webb Space Telescope. NASA
The images provide a rare glimpse of Uranus’ faint inner Zeta ring, and also capture several of the plant’s moons. NASA

The polar cap becomes more visible as Uranus’s pole turns toward the Sun as it approaches solstice and receives more sunlight. The next revolution of the planet will be in 2028.

Uranus has the most extreme seasons in the solar system, because it rotates on its side at an inclination of about 98 degrees, according to NASA. While the sun rises over one pole, the other pole plunges into a dark winter that lasts 21 years.

“Thanks to Webb’s unparalleled infrared resolution and sensitivity, astronomers now see Uranus and its unique properties with new, unprecedented clarity,” NASA said. “These details, especially those related to Zeta’s nearby ring, will be invaluable in planning any future missions to Uranus.”

Uranus has the most extreme seasons in the solar system. NASA

NASA also said that the planet and new images of it will help its scientists study nearly 2,000 similar-sized exoplanets that have been discovered over the past few decades.

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“This ‘exoplanet in our backyard’ could help astronomers understand how planets of this size function, what their meteorology is like, and how they formed,” the government agency said. “This can, in turn, help us understand our solar system as a whole by placing it in a larger context.”

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