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An image with a black background. The planet Uranus is a glowing orb near the center surrounded by rings. The planet appears blue with a large, white patch taking up the right half. The patch is whitest at the center, then fades into blue at it expands from right to left. A thin outline of Uranus is also white. Around the planet is a system of nested rings. There are faint orange and off-white smudges, some oval, some circular, that are background galaxies scattered throughout the image. Several bright blue point sources closer to Uranus are the planet’s moons. There is also a bright star at the left of the field, with 8 diffraction spikes.

Ringing in the Holidays

Seen here by Webb, ice giant Uranus is a dynamic world with rings, moons, storms, extreme seasons, and more. Webb’s sensitivity has even captured the close-in Zeta ring, faint, diffuse, and elusive. These new images reveal detailed features of Uranus’s seasonal north polar cap, as well as bright storms near and below the southern border of the cap. If humans want to send a spacecraft to visit Uranus up close, it’s necessary to understand how to navigate debris from its rings.

Image Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI

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