Ring in the holidays with this new close-up image of Uranus
The James Webb telescope has captured a magnificent new view of Uranus, which shows a detailed view of its rings in full glory. The image was captured using the telescope’s infrared NIRCam camera, which is capable of showing the planet in much greater detail than ever before.
The ice giant spins on its side, and you can see the ice cap on its pole pointing towards the camera. The image expands upon a two-color version released earlier this year.
The image has captured such a high amount of detail that the elusive Zeta inner ring is visible, something that has been difficult to capture previously. Nine of the planet’s 27 moons are also clearly seen in the photograph.
NASA says that it is difficult for the Webb telescope to capture one detailed image of Uranus because it spins relatively quickly. One day is just 17 hours long. These images combine several longer and shorter exposures to correct for any slight changes in the weather or atmosphere during the capture time.
“Several bright storms can also be seen near and below the southern border of the polar cap. The number of these storms, and how frequently and where they appear in Uranus’s atmosphere, might be due to a combination of seasonal and meteorological effects,” NASA writes.
Uranus has the most extreme seasons of any of the planets due to its 98-degree tilt. Winter on Uranus lasts a staggering 21 years.
It’s a beautiful image but how different from the previous image it is, I’m not entirely sure. I’m no astrophysicist, obviously. Still, if, like myself, you find it difficult to find inspiration to take different photos of the same subject, we should remember that the James Webb telescope is not immune to this problem as well!
Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe