Bruce Murray Space Image Library

Uranus from Hubble WFC3 on December 25, 2011

Uranus from Hubble WFC3 on December 25, 2011
Uranus from Hubble WFC3 on December 25, 2011 Astronomers exercised a "Hubble Target of Opportunity" to image Uranus when ground-based photos revealed that bright storms had blossomed in its midlatitudes. Processed image copyright Ted Stryk, raw data courtesy STScI / Heidi Hammel

The storms are more visible when viewed through longer-wavelength filters at 889 and 906 nanometers, where methane gas is strongly absorbing. Where there are clouds containing condensed methane droplets, they appear bright against the very dark planet.

Dark and bright spots on Uranus
Dark and bright spots on Uranus These images are composed of two views of Uranus taken through methane band filters at 889 and 906 nanometers. In the right-hand image, a yellow circle shows the location of a dark spot with a companion bright spot. STSCI / Heidi Hammel / Emily Lakdawalla

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