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Morning All

Some stunning new photos of Uranus by the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) of Uranus, including some of the first, best photos of its rings.

We are truly in a golden age of space exploration and discovery with the JWST, but even those who actively follow space science are amazed and delighted with what we have done.


Effing WOW!

This kind of thing redefines what "awestruck' means.

By the way, I am certain there are a few who think "it is just a photo'. True, but it is a photo of a planet 3.0678 BILLION Klicks away from Earth. Think on that for a bit.


Some reading...






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3,067,800,000 kms is impossible to get one's head around. 

Lovely pictures from JWT.

Uranus's orbit obviously brings it closer to Earth at times - it's a big sucker too!


With a radius of 15,759.2 miles (25,362 kilometers), Uranus is 4 times wider than Earth. If Earth was the size of a nickel, Uranus would be about as big as a softball. From an average distance of 1.8 billion miles (2.9 billion kilometers), Uranus is 19.8 astronomical units away from the Sun.


Graphic not strictly to scale in distance measurements

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Yes, lots of reading about Uranus today; it is the prefect Friday afternoon subject to replace work. And, whatever you are doing, spending an afternoon learning a bit about Uranus is likely a MUCH better use of one's time.
What do we already know about Uranus? 
There is an excellent NASA blurb which lays it out the Voyager fly-by of almost forty years ago (https://www.nasa.gov/feature/35-years-ago-voyager-2-explores-uranus), but the main difficulty was Voyager spent a relatively short time in the neighborhood and the equipment on-board wasn't Uranus specific. That said, our basic understanding of the Orb changed substantially. It revealed 11 new moons, a giant cache of information on the rings, and enough general data to mine for years and years. Imagine what a dedicated, up close and detailed mission will do.
Voyager's instrumentation;
  • an imaging science system consisting of narrow-angle and wide-angle cameras to photograph the planet and its satellites.
  • a radio science system to determine the planet’s physical properties.
  • an infrared interferometer spectrometer to investigate local and global energy balance and atmospheric composition.
  • an ultraviolet spectrometer to measure atmospheric properties.
  • a magnetometer to analyze the planet’s magnetic field and interaction with the solar wind.
  • a plasma spectrometer to investigate microscopic properties of plasma ions.
  • a low energy charged particle device to measure fluxes and distributions of ions.
  • a cosmic ray detection system to determine the origin and behavior of cosmic radiation.
  • a planetary radio astronomy investigation to study radio emissions from Jupiter.
  • a photopolarimeter to measure the planet’s surface composition.
  • a plasma wave system to study the planet’s magnetosphere.
Sadly, we aren't going to see an up close mission to Uranus soon; the next good launch window seems to be in the early 2030s with arrival in the latter part of the 2040s. Why go at all? The most recent data regarding exoplanets is that Ice Giants are likely very common in the universe, and adding to our understanding will almost certainly aid our understanding of the cosmos, even though it is difficult to know precisely how.
Remember, 50 years ago no one had ever heard of Facebook, Tik Tok, Youtube, Google and the like. Now...? What will our knowledge be in 50 years? The mind boggles.
Some reading regarding future Uranus missions...
Image of Uranus from Voyager;
PS I am still angry with Neil deGrasse Tyson for getting Pluto kicked out as a Planet. Perhaps it shouldn't have been there to begin with, but once named it deserved better treatment.
PPS Wasn't that a better use of your time than working?


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4 minutes ago, Shade_Wilder said:

Remember, 50 years ago no one had ever heard of Facebook, Tik Tok, Youtube, Google and the like.

Will you miss any of those if an asteroid, solar flare, EMPor similar wipes out power grids and internet? 🙃

PS: I am working.

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7 hours ago, Rookiescot said:

Grabs popcorn. 

Waits for the comments to roll in.

They have discovered methane on Uranus. 😩

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  • 1 month later...

Nice post , gets me thinking about the planets again , will test my children later on them , make sure they remember them all including Pluto 

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On 4/7/2023 at 7:39 AM, Shade_Wilder said:

PS I am still angry with Neil deGrasse Tyson for getting Pluto kicked out as a Planet.

Quite agree  -  it was a planet when I first learned about  the solar system!  By the way, who or what is Eris?

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