Image of Neptune taken using the new adaptive optics system at the 10-M Keck II Telescope. Image uses infrared light with a wavelength of 2 micro-meters to outline the planet in reflected sunlight. The bright bands are haze layers in Neptune's upper atmosphere. By compensating for the blurring effects of turbulence in the earth's atmosphere, adaptive optics reveals much more detail than has been previously observed from earth-bound telescopes. The dark stripe is a narrow slit through which light was directed onto a spectrograph to characterize the chemical composition of Neptune's atmosphere and the heights of the haze layers.
Image taken June 17, 2000, by a team from the University of California, Berkeley, and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
courtesy Imke de Pater/UC Berkeley)