August 23, 2007 Uranus is coasting through a brief window of time when its rings are edge-on to Earth. It's not the first time they've been edge-on, which they do every 42 years, but it is the first time they've been edge on since they were discovered. Astronomers peering at the rings with ESO's Very Large Telescope and other space or ground-based telescopes are hence getting an unprecedented view of the fine dust in the system, free from the glare of the bright rocky rings. They may even find a new moon or two. The pic shows Uranus surrounded by its rings and some of the moons, as they appear on a near-infrared image that was obtained in the Ks-band (at wavelength 2.2 _m) with the ISAAC multi-mode instrument on the 8.2-m VLT ANTU telescope.
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