New Jupiter photos from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope show rainbow auroras, enormous storms, and distant galaxies.
Planetary astronomer Imke de Pater, professor emerita at the University of California, Berkeley, said in a news release, “We hadn’t expected it to be this wonderful, to be honest.”
De Pater and Thierry Fouchet, a professor at the Paris Observatory, led observations of the largest planet in our solar system using the Webb telescope. NASA, the European Space Agency, and the Canadian Space Agency are all partners in this international project, according to NASA.
Multiple photos from the telescope were combined to create an overall composite, giving Earth a view of the gas giant that shifts from orange and yellow in Jupiter’s poles to blues and purples toward the center.
According to NASA, you can also observe dim rings and distant galaxies “photobombing” the foreground.
Additionally, the Great Red Spot on Jupiter, a storm large enough to swallow up Earth, appears white in these pictures.
The numerous bright white “spots” and “streaks” are probably very high-altitude cloud tops of condensed convective storms, according to Heidi Hammel, vice president for science at the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy and Webb interdisciplinary scientist for solar system observations.
According to NASA, researchers worked with citizen scientist Judy Schmidt to transform data into composite images from the telescope that provides a deeper understanding of Jupiter’s life.
Because of how swiftly it rotates, Jupiter is challenging to depict, according to Schmidt, a cosmologist located in Modesto, California.
However, Webb doesn’t solely focus on Jupiter. Infrared light is being used by the space telescope to show elements of the universe that would otherwise be unseen.
The world’s top space observatory was first developed in 2004, and on December 25, 2021, it was eventually launched with its enormous gold mirror.
Every stage of cosmic history will be examined by the telescope, including the early glows following the great bang that created our universe and the birth of the galaxies, stars, and planets that populate it now.
Exoplanetary systems, which each consist of a planet outside of our solar system and its host star, are also being found and studied by the telescope.
Looking into the atmospheres of some of these exoplanets, some of which may be habitable, may reveal hints in the ongoing hunt for life outside of Earth.