telescope will reveal the secrets of the ice giants - Technology

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Wednesday, 4 March 2020

telescope will reveal the secrets of the ice giants

The distant ice giants Uranus and Neptune are as mysterious as they are far. Due to the colossal distance that separates the Earth from these planets, the ice giants were discovered much later than their counterparts, which people knew about in ancient times - Jupiter and Saturn. However, the halo of mystery that has developed around the ice giants could soon disappear thanks to the launch in 2021 of the NASA  Space Telescope , which will reveal to mankind the hidden details of the atmospheres of both planets.
telescope will reveal the secrets of the ice giants
James Webb telescope will help to see what is hidden under the atmosphere of Neptune

What is on Neptune?

The distant giants Uranus and Neptune are called “ice giants” by no means accidentally: the interiors of these cold planets are very different from Jupiter and Saturn, which are much richer in hydrogen and helium than their counterparts. In addition, ice giants are much smaller than their gas counterparts, occupying an intermediate position between the terrestrial planets and giant planets.
Being the least studied category of objects in our solar system, Uranus and Neptune may soon lose their status as the most mysterious planets due to the commissioning of the Space Telescope . Lee Fletcher, associate professor of planetology at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom, claims that the weather on the ice giants will have a completely different character compared to Jupiter and Saturn. Partially, this phenomenon may be due to the fact that both planets are extremely far from the Sun, rotate more slowly on their axes than other planets, and are also much smaller than gas giants in diameter.
Uranus - the “wrong” planet that was tipped to the side as a result of a space cataclysm
Due to the fact that Uranus, its rings and satellites rotate at about an angle of 90 degrees from the plane of its orbit, extreme weather conditions on Uranus are far from uncommon. When NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft flew past Uranus in 1986, one of the poles of the planet was aimed directly at the Sun, and no matter how much Uranus rotated, one half of it was directed toward the Sun and the other was always in full in the dark. After a couple of decades, observations of the Hubble telescope showed the presence of all kinds of bright clouds on Uranus, which seemed to change dramatically in response to an immediate change in sunlight.
According to the plans of scientists, the launch of Webb can give mankind an idea of ​​the powerful seasonal phenomena that govern the formation of clouds and weather of Uranus, as well as how they change over time. Since the planet is still continuing its slow orbital path, it will again direct one of its poles to the Sun in 2028, which will be able to observe the telescope, phys.org reports .
The closest neighbor of Uranus - Neptune - is a dark and extremely cold world, around which Triton revolves - the only large satellite of the ice giant, and at the same time very geologically interesting object. Located at a distance more than 30 times farther from the Sun than the Earth, Neptune is the only world that cannot be distinguished with the naked eye in the night sky.
The atmosphere of the ice giant consists of a large amount of water, methane, ammonia and hydrogen sulfide, existing above the still inaccessible interior of the planet. As in the situation with Uranus, methane gives Neptune its famous blue color, but some still mysterious atmospheric chemistry makes Neptune's blue color much deeper than that of Uranus. In addition to color, Neptune stands out against other objects of the solar system and due to its winds, which arise due to the presence on the planet of a strong internal heat source. Researchers hope that the power of the Webb telescope will allow scientists to understand the unusual chemistry of the planet, generating the strongest vortices, which sometimes reach supersonic speeds.
A study of the distant planets of the solar system by the James Webb telescope will begin after its launch next year. Having collected data on the atmospheres of the ice giants, a device whose start of work can fundamentally change modern science will consider not only the internal composition of the planets, but also allow humanity to turn their eyes to even more distant cosmic objects - exoplanets . So, the launch of just one high-tech device will be able to tell more about the Universe than all its predecessors could do

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