Pan of Uranus (NIRCam)

This image of Uranus from NIRCam (Near-Infrared Camera) on the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope shows the planet and its rings in new clarity. The planet’s seasonal north polar cap gleams in a bright white, and Webb’s exquisite sensitivity resolves Uranus’ dim inner and outer rings, including the Zeta ring—the extremely faint and diffuse ring closest to the planet.

This Webb image also shows 14 of the planet’s 27 moons: Oberon, Titania, Umbriel, Juliet, Perdita, Rosalind, Puck, Belinda, Desdemona, Cressida, Ariel, Miranda, Bianca, and Portia.

One day on Uranus is about 17 hours, so the planet’s rotation is relatively quick. This makes it supremely difficult for observatories with a sharp eye like Webb to capture one simple image of the entire planet – storms and other atmospheric features, and the planet’s moons, move visibly within minutes. This image combines several longer and shorter exposures of this dynamic system to correct for those slight changes throughout the observing time.

Webb’s extreme sensitivity also picks up a smattering of background galaxies—most appear as orange smudges, and there are two larger, fuzzy white galaxies to the right of the planet in this field of view.


NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, N. Bartmann (ESA/Webb)
Music: Stellardrone - Twilight

About the Video

Release date:18 December 2023, 16:00
Related releases:weic2332
Duration:30 s
Frame rate:25 fps

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