The James Webb Telescope Captures Clear Image of Neptune, Its Rings, and a Few of Its Moons

The James Webb Telescope Captures Clear Image of Neptune, Its Rings, and a Few of Its Moons

The ice giant Neptune from the outskirts of our Solar System is significantly bigger than Earth. Over 50 planets the size of ours would fit inside Neptune, the farthest planet from the Sun. Therefore, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the ice giant also has many more moons than Earth has: 14, to be more precise. 

Triton is the largest one of Neptune’s moons, and the radius of the natural satellite is more than half of that of Mercury, the first planet from the Sun. You can see Triton in James Webb’s new photo resembling a shiny star located far away from Neptune. NASA’s next-generation telescope used its infrared capabilities to take a very clear picture of Neptune, its rings, and some of its moons. Except for Triton, you can also see Despina, Proteus, Naiad, Larissa, Galatea, and Thalassa in the image:


Mark McCaughrean from the European Space Agency (ESA), stated as The Guardian quotes:

The kind of astronomy we’re seeing now was unimaginable five years ago,

Of course, we knew that it would do this, we built it to do this, it is exactly the machine we designed. But to suddenly start seeing things in these longer wavelengths, which were impossible before … it’s just absolutely remarkable.

Neptune is about 30 times as far from the Sun as Earth is. In other words, Neptune is located about 29 AU away from us. The ice giant needs 165 years to complete a full orbit around our star. 

Similar to Saturn or Jupiter, the rings of Neptune are also made of dust and rocks. The ice giant is also very similar to Uranus, but it’s colder. Neptune is actually the coldest planet in the Solar System, and it also has the strongest winds.

One shocking fact is that despite being much larger than Earth, Neptune has a surface gravity that’s almost the same as ours.

Cristian Antonescu

Even since he was a child, Cristian was staring curiously at the stars, wondering about the Universe and our place in it. Today he's seeing his dream come true by writing about the latest news in astronomy. Cristian is also glad to be covering health and other science topics, having significant experience in writing about such fields.

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