NASA's Hubble Space Telescope photographed a new pair of rings around Uranus and two new, small moons orbiting the planet.Link to news release, and link to full coverage on NASA website. Link to National Geographic coverage.
The largest ring is twice the diameter of the planet's previously known rings. The rings are so far from the planet, they are being called Uranus' "second ring system." One of the new moons shares its orbit with one of the rings. Analysis of the Hubble data also reveals the orbits of Uranus' family of inner moons have changed significantly over the past decade.
"The detection of these new interacting rings and moons will help us better understand how planetary systems are formed and sustained, which is of key importance to NASA's scientific exploration goals," said Dr. Jennifer Wiseman, program scientist for Hubble at NASA Headquarters.
In related news, NASA is preparing to launch an exploratory mission to the
planet icy dirtclod Pluto. Link to WaPo story.
Boing Boing editor/partner and tech culture journalist Xeni Jardin hosts and produces Boing Boing's in-flight TV channel on Virgin America airlines (#10 on the dial), and writes about living with breast cancer. Diagnosed in 2011. @xeni on Twitter. email: firstname.lastname@example.org.