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Home SCIENCE JWST has taken even more beautiful images of Jupiter and its aurora.

JWST has taken even more beautiful images of Jupiter and its aurora.

The James Webb Space Telescope has taken new images of Jupiter, showing its bright haze, faint rings and auroras in hopes of better understanding the entire system.

Space


22 August 2022

The orange glow at Jupiter’s poles are its auroras.

NASA, ESA, CSA and Jupiter ERS team. Image processing by Judy Schmidt

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has released two stunning new images showing the intricacies of Jupiter. While his previous images of the gas giant each used only one wavelength of light, these are composite images showing Jupiter’s bright auroras, shifting haze, and two of its small moons.

Because JWST observes in infrared light, these images do not show Jupiter as it would appear to the naked eye. Instead, different infrared wavelengths have been mapped into different colors to highlight particular features of the planet.

In the image above, the orange glow at Jupiter’s poles is its aurora. Green represents thin haze layers at high altitude, while blue shows the main cloud layer. White areas show the tops of storms, including the Great Red Spot.

“We really didn’t expect it to be that good, to be honest,” he said. imke de pater at the University of California, Berkeley, who led this research along with Thierry Fouchet at the Paris Observatory, in a statements. “It’s really remarkable that we can see details about Jupiter along with its rings, small satellites and even galaxies in a single image.”

Webb NIRCam composite image of two filters?  F212N (orange) and F335M (cyan) ?  from the Jupiter system, unlabeled (top) and labeled (bottom).

Jupiter and two of its small moons, Adrastea and Amalthea

NASA, ESA, CSA and Jupiter ERS team. Image processing by Judy Schmidt

The wide-field image of Jupiter, above, shows not only Jupiter’s aurora, this time in blue, but also its faint rings. Aligned to the planet’s left are two of its small moons, Adrastea and Amalthea. The dots scattered throughout the image are mostly distant galaxies in the background.

De Pater and his colleagues hope that images like this one will allow them to tease out the connections between Jupiter’s different layers and understand how gas and heat move around the planet. They also aim to study the planet’s faint ring and how it evolves over time, as well as take pictures of some of its moons.

“This image sums up the science of our Jupiter system program,” Fouchet said. Researchers are now analyzing the data used to create these images, looking for clues about Jupiter’s inner machinations.

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