This view of Uranus was recorded by Voyager 2 on Jan 25, 1986, as the spacecraft left the planet behind and set forth on the cruise to Neptune. Voyager was 1 million kilometers (about 600,000 miles) from Uranus when it acquired this wide-angle view. The picture -- a color composite of blue, green and orange frames -- has a resolution of 140 km (90 mi). The thin crescent of Uranus is seen here at an angle of 153 degrees between the spacecraft, the planet and the Sun. Even at this extreme angle, Uranus retains the pale blue-green color seen by ground-based astronomers and recorded by Voyager during its historic encounter. This color results from the presence of methane in Uranus' atmosphere; the gas absorbs red wavelengths of light, leaving the predominant hue seen here. The tendency for the crescent to become white at the extreme edge is caused by the presence of a high-altitude haze.
Published: January 29, 1996