Pictures from a new James Webb space telescope show Neptune and its rings shining.
The clearest view of Neptune's rings in decades is captured by James Webb
The $10 billion Webb telescope, which was put into orbit less than a year ago, spends much of its time looking much farther out into the cosmos.
In addition to providing the best glimpse of the planet's rings in more than 30 years, Webb's cameras also shed new insight on the ice giant.
In addition to Neptune's thin rings, which have never been seen in the infrared, the photographs taken in July also display seven of the planet's 14 known moons.
The largest and most potent telescope in existence, Webb is located 1.6 million kilometres (one million miles) from the planet. Last December, it was sent into space.
Credits: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI
The clarity of the planet's rings, some of which have not been seen since NASA's Voyager 2 became the first spacecraft to examine Neptune during its approach in 1989, is what stands out most in Webb's latest photograph.
Since it was discovered in 1846, Neptune has captivated scientists. Neptune orbits in the distant, dark area of the outer solar system, 30 times further from the Sun than Earth.
With its first image of Neptune, NASA's James Webb Space Telescope displays its capabilities closer to home.
On Wednesday, NASA revealed brand-new high-resolution images of the planet at the edge of our solar system, captured by the James Webb Space Telescope.