James Webb Space Telescope Captures Stunning Image Of Neptune, Rings

From images taken by NASA spacecrafts, this picture mosaic was created of six of the planets in our solar system and the Earth's moon. In the foreground is the Earth rising over the lunar surface with the sun flare at the edge of Earth. Venus is the first planet above the moon, and at the top left to right are the planets Jupiter, Mercury, Mars and Saturn. Photo credits are as follows: Earth - Apollo 17; Lunar Surface - Apollo 8; Sun - Apollo 12; Venus - Pioneer Venus; Jupiter - Voyager I; Mercury - Mariner 10; Saturn - Pioneer 11.

At a glance

  • The $10 billion-dollar NASA observatory captured the most transparent view of the ice planet’s rings in more than 30 years.

  • Some of the planet’s rings have not been detected since NASA’s Voyager 2 conducted its flyby in 1989 – the first spacecraft to observe Neptune.

  • In visible light, it appears blue due to small amounts of methane gas in its atmosphere, but Neptune does not appear blue to Webb’s Near-Infrared Camera.
  • Webb’s images also show an “intriguing brightness” in the northern pole and the first indication of high-latitude clouds surrounding a vortex at the southern pole.

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