Neptune, its rings, and seven of its moons have all been beautifully caught in a single image by the James Webb Space Telescope. The picture shows a highly brilliant point of light with diffraction spikes.
The $10 billion James Webb Telescope, put into orbit less than a year ago, spends much of its time looking farther out into the cosmos.
During a 1989 visit, NASA’s Voyager 2 was the first spacecraft to witness Neptune in all of its gaseous splendor.
The ice blue planet has never been visited by another spacecraft.
Accordingly, it has been three decades since scientists have seen these rings with such clarity and detail, according to Heidi Hammel, a planetary astronomer from the Space Science Institute collaborating with Webb.
Hammel said in a tweet that she sobbed and yelled after seeing the rings.
The largest and most powerful telescope, Webb, is located 1.6 million kilometers (one million miles) from the planet. Last December, it was sent into orbit.