The James Webb Space Telescope once again demonstrated its ability to film not only distant galaxies, but also close objects — this time Neptune was in its lens. The ice giant appeared in a completely new light, and the image of its rings was the clearest in more than 30 years.
The most striking part of the new picture was indeed the planet's rings — some of which have not been re-recorded since 1989, when the Voyager 2 machine passed by Neptune. The interest of researchers in Neptune has not been measured since its discovery in 1846. The planet revolves around the Sun 30 times as far as the Earth — the star seems so small and dizzy that the afternoon on Neptune is more like the Earth's twilight. Due to the chemical composition of the planet's subsoil, the planet is characterized by an ice giant: unlike Jupiter and Saturn, there are many elements of heavy hydrogen and helium that are visible in the blue color of Neptune on images from the Habble telescope made in the apparent range of blue, due to the presence of gaseous methane.
"James Webb" has received images of the planet on a near infrared camera of 0.6 to 5 μm, so in recent images of the planet blues does not appear to be: the gaseous methane is well absorbed in red and infrared color, so with the planet's filters used it seems dark, except in areas with high clouds. The cloud of methane ice is visible in bright stripes and stains — the sun light is partly reflected before it is later absorbed in methane. A bright strip on the planet's equator may indicate the processes of global atmospheric circulation that produce the most powerful winds on Neptune. The North Pole of the planet has so far been out of sight, but there is clearly something bright in this area. The picture has also been captured and known by a scientist in the South Pole, for the first time in all time has also been able to capture a complete band of nearby clouds.
The telescope filmed 7 of Neptune's 14 known satellites. The most striking object in the image was a bright spot, not a star, but a large and unusual satellite, Neptune Triton. Because of the condensed nitrogen, it reflects about 70% of the sun's falling on it, and in the infrared range, it clearly appears to be brighter than the planet itself, where the radiation is absorbed by methane. In addition, Triton revolves around Neptune in an unusual retrograde orbit opposite the direction of other satellites. Astronomers assume that it originally belonged to the Koiper belt, but was later captured by the planet. Further research on both objects is scheduled for next year.