Neptune and its rings come into focus with Webb telescope
From The New York Times [accessible text]:
No spacecraft has visited Neptune since 1989, when the NASA probe Voyager 2 flew past on its way out of the solar system. Neptune, which is four times as wide as Earth, is the most distant planet of our solar system. Voyager 2’s observations whetted the appetites of astronomers, who were eager to learn more about the ice giant.
Now we’ve returned. Sort of.
On Wednesday, the James Webb Space Telescope cast its powerful gold-plated eye onto this remote world. The power of this infrared machine, the largest and most advanced telescope ever sent to space, has provided some of our best views of Neptune in 30 years.
Ground-based observatories and the Hubble Space Telescope have taken many images of Neptune in the past three decades. But the Webb’s views of Neptune, taken in July, provide an unprecedented glimpse at the planet in infrared light.
It took just a few minutes for the telescope to image Neptune close up, and an additional 20 to take a wider view, revealing not just the planet but myriad galaxies behind it stretching into the cosmos.