EUROPEAN SOUTHERN OBSERVATORY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY EUROPEAN SOUTHERN OBSERVATORY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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Uranus. Near-infrared view of the planet Uranus showing its rings and some of its moons. In this image sunlight is almost completely absorbed by gaseous methane present in the planetary atmosphere and the disc of Uranus appears unusually dark. The icy material in the rings reflects the sunlight and appears comparatively bright. Uranus is unique among the planets of the solar system in having a tilted rotation axis that is close to the main solar system plane in which most planets move. Image obtained on 19th November 2002, with the ISAAC (Infrared Spectrometer And Array Camera) multi-mode instrument on the 8.2-metre Very Large Telescope (Antu) at the ESO Paranal Observatory, Chile.
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