The James Webb Telescope has shown Jupiter as we have never seen it before
The first collection of color photos captured by NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) have been made public.
Among the released photographs and documentation, which may have gone missed by many, space fanatics have discovered two brand-new photographs of Jupiter.
The James Webb Telescope obtained fascinating photographs of the closest gas giant to Earth in our Solar System when it was undergoing testing. The photographs depict Jupiter’s rings as well as Europa, Thebes, and Metis, its three moons. The shadow of Europa is also visible in the photograph labeled F212N, alongside the Great Red Spot. The Great Red Spot is a persistent storm system 22 degrees south of Jupiter’s equator that generates winds of up to 432 kilometers per hour.
Each of the new photographs of Jupiter was captured with an infrared camera (NIRCam) and a filter that accentuates certain wavelengths of light. According to the paper, the photos “demonstrated that JWST can track moving targets even when scattered light from the brilliant Jovian planets is present.” Jovian is an adjective that defines Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune as “giants.”
To test the telescope’s capacity to track fast-moving objects, NASA chose nine targets. The Near Infrared Imager, Slitless Spectrograph (NIRISS) and the Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI), which detect and stabilize different wavelengths, are also being evaluated.
Jupiter was the target with the slowest speed, yet all tests were successful. These images also demonstrate its capacity to capture details such as planets’ rings and moons.
The James Webb Space Telescope was designed “to enable important breakthroughs in our understanding of the genesis and evolution of galaxies, stars, and planetary systems,” according to the launch report.
Now we are certain that it will be the case, he writes.
These images of Jupiter, taken by the James Webb Space Telescope, were hidden inside a document about testing. They helped show that JWST is even better than expected at tracking fast-moving objects https://t.co/GGr1hM8UZY
— New Scientist (@newscientist) July 12, 2022
A $10 billion worth telescope
The release of the photos marks the start of scientific work with the James Webb, the largest and most powerful telescope launched into space. The James Webb Telescope was launched on December 25 on an Ariana rocket from the European Space Agency’s Kourou Space Center in French Guiana.
Scientists hope the images from the telescope will provide insight into the period immediately after the Big Bang, about 13.8 billion years ago. The development of James Webb took about 30 years and cost about 10 billion dollars. It is the successor to the Hubble telescope, which has been in use for more than 30 years.