The Warm Glow of Rings Around Uranus

Saturn’s rungs are obvious, so this piece is here to show some love to the rings around the planet Uranus.

via SyFy

But a fun thing about dark things that absorb sunlight is that they get warmer. A fundamental rule of physics is that anything above a temperature of absolute zero emits light, and the wavelength (color) where it emits most of its energy changes with temperature. So while the rings of Uranus don’t reflect much sunlight, they are warm enough to emit light. It would be way outside what our eyes can see, in the far infrared (sometimes called “thermal infrared”) and even longer wavelengths, like in the millimeter range.

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