Hubble Camera Snags Rare View of Uranus Rings

Hubble Camera Snags Rare View of Uranus Rings This image from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope shows how the ring system around the distant planet Uranus appears at ever more oblique (shallower) tilts as viewed from Earth - culminating in the rings being seen edge-on in three observing opportunities in 2007.
  • submit to reddit

August 23, 2007

A rare image of the ring system of the planet Uranus has been captured by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, using the onboard JPL-built and designed Wide Field Planetary Camera 2.

The view, tilted edge-on to Earth, was photographed on August 14, 2007. Earthbound astronomers only see the rings' edge every 42 years as the planet follows a leisurely 84-year orbit about the sun. However, the last time the rings were tilted edge-on to Earth, astronomers didn't even know they existed.

The fainter outer rings appeared in 2003 Hubble images, but were not noticed there until they were seen in 2005 Hubble images, which prompted astronomers to analyze the previous ones more carefully. Uranus has a total of 13 dusty rings.

In the image, the edge-on rings appear as spikes above and below the planet. The rings cannot be seen running fully across the face of the planet because the bright glare of the planet has been blocked out in the Hubble photo. A small amount of residual glare appears as a fan-shaped image artifact, along with an edge between the exposure for the inner and outer rings.

Uranus is the 7th planet from the sun. Its diameter, without the rings, is about 51,000 kilometers (32,000 miles) at the equator. Additional images and information on the Hubble Space Telescope is online at http://hubblesite.org/news/ . The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency. JPL is managed for NASA by the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

Media contact: Jane Platt 818-354-0880
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
Jane.platt@jpl.nasa.gov

2007-093



This graphic depicts the orbit of comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring NASA Mars Spacecraft Prepare for Close Comet Flyby

› Read more

Rotating Shape Model of Rosetta's Comet Target Surface impressions of Rosetta's comet

› Read more

The Space Between: This artist's concept shows the Voyager 1 NASA Voyager Statement About Solar Wind Models

› Read more


Get JPL Updates
Sign Up for JPL UpdatesRegister today and receive up-to-the-minute e-mail alerts delivered directly to your inbox.
Sign Up for JPL Updates