UNITED STATES: On Wednesday, NASA revealed brand-new high-resolution images of Neptune at the edge of our solar system, captured by the James Webb Space Telescope.
In addition to Neptune’s thin rings, which have never been seen in the infrared spectrum, the images acquired in July also display seven of the planet’s 14 known moons. Earlier, in a series of recent photos published last month, Webb displayed Jupiter at its finest.
The $10 billion Webb telescope, put into orbit less than a year ago, spends much of its time looking farther into the cosmos. The formation of the first stars and galaxies, which occurred virtually at the beginning of time, is what astronomers hope to observe.
During a 1989 visit, NASA’s Voyager 2 was the first spacecraft to witness Neptune in all of its gaseous splendour.
The ice, the blue planet has never been visited by another spaceship. Accordingly, it has been three decades since scientists have observed these rings with such clarity and detail, according to Heidi Hammel, a planetary astronomer from the Space Science Institute who is collaborating with Webb.
The largest and most powerful telescope, Webb, is located 1.6 million kilometres from the Earth. Last December, it was sent into space.
Except for one thing, the observatory is in good shape, according to NASA.
This week, NASA announced that a mechanism on one of Webb’s instruments indicated increased friction in one of the telescope’s four observational modes late last month.
As a review board chooses a course of action, observations in this specific observing track are on hold.