It’s ‘remarkable that we can see details on Jupiter together with its rings, tiny satellites, and even galaxies in one image,’ said a lead astronomer.
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has yielded more images of space, this time high-quality pictures of Jupiter.
The latest images were published by NASA yesterday (22 August). They show details such as the planet’s satellites, rings and moons, and even some ‘photobombing’ galaxies.
According to one of the project leads, planetary astronomer Imke de Pater, the quality of the findings the images have presented are better than expected.
De Pater is professor emerita of the University of California, Berkeley. She led the observations of Jupiter with Thierry Fouchet, a professor at the Paris Observatory.
The images were taken by the observatory’s near-infrared camera, called NIRCam, which has three specialised infrared filters that showcase Jupiter’s finer details.
As infrared light is invisible to the human eye, the light has been mapped onto the visible spectrum. Scientists worked with citizen scientist Judy Schmidt to translate the James Webb data into images.
They created an image of Jupiter from a composite of several different images from the James Webb telescope. The image shows auroras extending to high altitudes above the northern and southern poles of Jupiter. These auroras are visible in a filter that is mapped to redder colours. Light reflected in lower clouds and upper hazes has also been rendered in red.
A separate filter was mapped to yellows and greens. It shows hazes circling the northern and southern poles. A third filter, mapped to blues, shows light that is reflected from a deeper main cloud.
Jupiter’s Great Red Spot storm, normally depicted as red in images, is shown in white in these pictures. This is because it is reflecting a lot of sunlight. The brightness is indicative of a high altitude.
“It’s really remarkable that we can see details on Jupiter together with its rings, tiny satellites, and even galaxies in one image,” said de Pater.
Researchers are now analysing the images to find out more information about Jupiter. It has been several weeks since the first images from the James Webb Space Telescope were released.
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