James Webb Space Telescope

November’s Night Sky Notes: Spy the Seventh Planet, Uranus

Since that discovery, multiple observatories have revealed more details of Uranus and its ring system. Most recently, the NASA-led JWST space observatory captured the planet and its rings in detail. This recent image combines just 12 minutes of exposure in two filters to reveal 11 of the planet’s 13 rings. Even some of the planet’s atmospheric features are visible in this image. Even with advanced imaging like that from JWST, much of Uranus remains a mystery, including why it orbits the Sun on its side. This is because only one spacecraft has ever visited this planet: NASA’s Voyager 2, which flew by the distant planet in the mid-1980s.

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