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In this Voyager wide-angle image taken on Aug. 23 1989, the two main rings of Neptune can be clearly seen. In the lower part of the frame the originally announced ring arc, consisting of three distinct features, is visible. This feature covers about 35 degrees of longitude and has yet to be radially resolved in Voyager images. From higher resolution images it is known that this region contains much more material than the diffuse belts seen elsewhere in its orbit, which seem to encircle the planet. This is consistent with the fact that ground-based observations of stellar occultations by the rings show them to be very broken and clumpy. The more sensitive wide-angle camera is revealing more widely distributed but fainter material.
Each of these rings of material lies just outside of the orbit of a newly discovered moon. One of these moons, 1989N2, may be seen in the upper right corner. The moon is streaked by its orbital motion, whereas the stars in the frame are less smeared. The dark area around the bright moon and star are artifacts of the processing required to bring out the faint rings.
This wide-angle image was taken from a range of 2 million kilometers (1.2 million miles), through the clear filter.
The Voyager Project is managed for NASA by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.