Up Close And Personal: Telescope Captures The Most Detailed Shots Of Uranus To Date

October 24, 2012


Using long-wavelength observations, the Keck II telescope in Hawaii was recently able to see through the methane gas cloud surrounding Uranus and provide the best images of the planet to date. It really is surrounded by a gas cloud by the way -- that wasn't a euphemism for buttholes. Ham flowers, yes.

Methane is opaque at visible wavelengths, which is why we're used to seeing pictures of Uranus that make it look like a nearly featureless orb in a lovely shade of blue. But all that we're really seeing is just the uppermost methane cloud layer in Uranus' atmosphere, and it turns out there's a lot going on underneath. The images at the top of this article, taken in the infrared (in which methane is transparent), show a spectacular amount of detail that makes Uranus look more like Jupiter or Saturn.

Listen: I love planets as much as the next guy who's building a rocket ship in the shed behind his parent's house, I just have a hard time getting too excited about the gas ones. If I can't LIVE there, what's the point? That's why I'm moving to the sun. "The sun isn't a planet, isn't solid, and you'll burn up before...you know, that sounds like a great idea." Right?! *climbing aboard rocket* THE GOVERNMENT KILLED ME. (There's no way this thing isn't exploding and I've always wanted some really cryptic last words).

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