In addition to the many narrow, brittle rings, Neptune’s web images show faint dust bands. Some rings have not been observed since NASA’s Voyager 2 obtained the first photographic evidence of Neptune’s rings during their flybys in 1989.
In the new images, Neptune appears white, unlike the typical blue The look you have in scenes captured at visible wavelengths of light. That’s because methane, part of the planet’s chemical makeup, doesn’t show up in the blue of the NIRCam webcam.
Also visible in the images are methane ice clouds – bright streaks and spots that reflect sunlight before being absorbed by the methane gas. It is also possible to spot a thin, bright line orbiting the planet’s equator, which could be a “visual signature of the global atmospheric cycle that fuels Neptune’s winds and storms,” according to the release.
Neptune is located 30 times farther from the Sun than Earth, and moves through its heliocentric orbit in the far dark region of the outer solar system. The press release said that the sun at that distance is so small and faint that Neptune’s appearance resembles a dark twilight on Earth.
Webb is more than A 10-year mission operated by NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency.
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