James Webb telescope captures stunning images of Jupiter (2022)

1 min read
James Webb Space Telescope has captured new images of Jupiter, showcasing the planet's giant storms, powerful winds, auroras, and extreme temperature and pressure conditions. The two images come from the observatory's Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam), which has three specialized infrared filters that showcase details of the planet. Since infrared light is invisible to the human eye, the light has been mapped onto the visible spectrum. Generally, the longest wavelengths appear redder, and the shortest wavelengths are shown as more blue. Scientists collaborated with citizen scientist Judy Schmidt to translate the Webb data into images. Credit line: NASA / UPI / Profimedia

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has captured stunning images of the planet Jupiter showing two tiny moons, faint rings and auroras at the northern and southern poles.

“We hadn’t really expected it to be this good, to be honest,” said planetary astronomer Imke de Pater of the University of California, Berkeley.

“It’s really remarkable that we can see details on Jupiter together with its rings, tiny satellites, and even galaxies in one image,” she said.

De Pater headed the observations of Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system, with Thierry Fouchet of the Paris Observatory.

The composite images were taken with the observatory’s Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) and were artificially colored because infrared light is not visible to the human eye.

The auroras above the northern and southern poles of Jupiter have been mapped in redder colors while the Great Red Spot, a storm bigger than Earth, appears white.

James Webb Space Telescope has captured new images of Jupiter, Credit line: NASA / UPI / Profimedia

One image shows Jupiter’s faint rings and its moons Amalthea and Adrastea.

Launched in December 2021 from French Guiana on an Ariane 5 rocket, Webb is orbiting the Sun at a distance of a million miles (1.6 million kilometers) from Earth, in a region of space called the second Lagrange point.

It took the spacecraft almost a month to reach the region, where it remains in a fixed position behind the Earth and Sun to give it a clear view of the cosmos.

The Webb telescope is an international collaboration between the US space agency NASA, the European Space Agency, and the Canadian Space Agency, involving more than 10,000 people. © AFP

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