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News Release Archive:

News Release 462 of 948

January 22, 2004 09:00 AM (EST)

News Release Number: STScI-2004-05

The Colorful Lives of the Outer Planets

January 22, 2004: Atmospheric features on Uranus and Neptune are revealed in images taken with the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph and the Advanced Camera for Surveys aboard NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. A wider view of Uranus, taken with the Advanced Camera for Surveys, reveals the planet's faint rings and several of its satellites. The observations were taken in August 2003.

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Q & A: Understanding the Discovery

  1. 1. Why do the images of Uranus and Neptune in the top look so different from those in the bottom row?


  2. The top row reveals Uranus and Neptune in natural colors, showing the planets as they would appear if we could see them through a telescope. The images are made of exposures taken with filters sensitive to red, green, and blue light. In the bottom images, astronomers used different color filters to detect features we can't see. The photographs demonstrate that, by using certain types of color filters, astronomers can extract more information about a celestial object than our eyes normally can see.

 
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Credit: NASA and Erich Karkoschka, University of Arizona