Feeds

Uranus strikes a pose for Hubble's camera

Edge on view of the rings

Remote control for virtualized desktops

Hubble has snapped a gorgeous shot of the rings of Uranus*.

I can see rings around Uranus. Credit: NASA/Hubble

I can see rings around Uranus. Credit: NASA/Hubble

The picture is extremely rare because the rings happen to be tilted perfectly edge on to Earth, an alignment that happens just twice every 894 years as the planet orbits the sun.

NASA points out that the last time the rings were aligned like this, no one actually knew the planet's rings existed.

The picture, taken with the Wide Field Planetary Camera 2, shows what appear to be spikes emanating from the planet's poles. These are the edges of Uranus' 13 rings, and they are actually poking out from its equator.

The planet is a bit of an oddball because it is orbiting the Sun on its side, with its axis almost parallel to the path it takes around our star.

Uranus is the second farthest official planet from the sun (apologies to any residual Pluto fans). It was confirmed as a planet by William Herschel back in 1781, although the earliest recorded sighting was in 1690, when astronomer John Flamsteed catalogued it as a star.

The planet appears blue because of the large quantity of methane** in its upper atmosphere, which preferentially absorbs red light. ®

*Stop sniggering at the back.

**We'll not say it again.

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Website security in corporate America
Find out how you rank among other IT managers testing your website's vulnerabilities.