Webb telescope transmits impressive images of Jupiter


On Monday, the US space agency NASA released new images taken by the James Webb Space Telescope, which launched eight months ago. They show, among other things, auroras extending high above the north and south poles of the planet Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system, in impressive detail.

“To be honest, we didn’t really expect it to be this good,” said planetary astronomer Imke de Pater of the University of California, Berkeley. She led observations of Jupiter with Thierry Fouchet of the Paris Observatory, as part of an international collaboration for the Webb Early Release Science program can see the image,” De Pater said on the website of the American space agency NASA.

Infrared photos “translated” into visible light
The images released Monday come from the telescope’s near-infrared camera (NIRCam), which has three specialized infrared filters that reveal such details of the planet. Since infrared light is invisible to the human eye, the light is “translated” into the visible spectrum.

In the images of Jupiter, stitched together from multiple NIRCam images, auroras (aurorae) extend to great heights above the planet’s north and south poles. They glow in a filter associated with redder colors, which also emphasizes the light reflected from lower clouds and upper haze. Another filter assigned to yellow and green shows veils swirling around the north and south poles. A third filter, mapped to blue, shows light reflected from a deeper main cloud.

The planet’s famous Great Red Spot shines particularly bright – a long-lived cyclone 1.5 times as wide as our Earth and with winds of up to 680 kilometers per hour. Like other clouds, it appears white because it reflects a lot of sunlight.

Telescope 1.5 million kilometers from Earth
The “James Webb Space Telescope” (JWST, image below), also being built with Austrian participation, was launched in December after decades of preparation and some delay. It is now more than one and a half million kilometers from our earth.

Among other things, the observatory will use a 25-square-meter mirror to provide new images of the early universe. Astronomers hope the telescope’s images will provide insight into the time after the Big Bang, 13.8 billion years ago. The lifespan of the JWST is initially set at ten years.

Source: Krone


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