James Webb: Space Telescope Leaks Dazzling Views Of Jupiter
The image of Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system, is always the same. The yellow orange circle is how most of us remember gas giants from our school textbooks and encyclopedias. However, new images of Jupiter taken by NASA's latest James Webb Telescope show the planet in a very different avatar.
A greenish blue view of Jupiter can be seen in the latest infrared light images of the planet released by NASA. The images show the planet complete with all of its signature elements, including massive storms, auroras, and areas of extreme temperatures.
We didn't really expect it to be that good, to be honest," planetary astronomer Imke de Pater said in a press statement. De Pater, Professor Emerita of the University of California, Berkeley, along with Professor Thierry Fouchet of the Paris Observatory on Jupiter who said that "it's really remarkable that we can see details on Jupiter with its rings, small satellites and even galaxies in one image.”
A second image released by NASA also nicely characterizes the various features of Jupiter that can be seen in the images, including the planet's rings and moons. "This one image summarizes the science of our Jupiter system program, which studies the dynamics and chemistry of Jupiter, its rings and its satellite system," Fauchet said.
Processing of Jupiter's latest photos
As NASA noted in its blog post, images from the James Webb Telescope do not appear as we see them on Webb. Instead, scientists get a collection of information captured by the light detectors on the James Webb Space Telescope. At STScI (Space Telescope Science Institute), these bits of information are processed and compiled to form the images we see.
The latest images of Jupiter you just saw were processed by Judy Schmidt of Modesto California, a longtime image processor in the citizen science community.
In a separate view of Jupiter, created by combining multiple images from the telescope, the aurora rose to high altitudes above both Jupiter's north and south poles, NASA said. Auroras are light shows in the sky caused by the Sun.
Schmidt also collaborated with Spain-based co-investigator Ricardo Hueso, who studies planetary atmospheres at the University of the Basque Country, for the second image, where the rings and moons can be seen.