Webb Telescope Helps People See Jupiter in a New Light

Webb Telescope
Courtesy of NASA/Chris Gunn – NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope

NASA’s James Webb Telescope has been photographing the gas giant in infrared light. It was expected to look at far-away planets for the first time. Instead, NASA says that the resulting images are “shocking” and “startling,” as they show unique features of Jupiter that have never been seen before.

The Webb Telescope can see the gas giant up close and personal. In addition, it will allow scientists to study Jupiter in great detail—from the cloud tops where the planet’s atmosphere is composed of ammonia crystals to its core, which is made of iron and nickel.

NASA’s Webb Telescope has already been tested and used by scientists at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, to see Saturn’s moon Titan as it passed behind Saturn’s rings.

One image shows a “Great Red Spot” cloud at different stages of its movement. Another Webb Telescope photo shows several moons orbiting Jupiter in different orbits than they did previously. And yet another image shows Jupiter’s rings—including the faint ringlets of material that circle the planet’s poles—in unprecedented detail.

The Jupiter’s Great Red Spot

The Great Red Spot is a giant hurricane raging for hundreds of years. It is so big that it can be seen from Earth with the naked eye, but until now, people have not been able to imagine its structure or composition.

Webb Telescope
Courtesy of Kevin Gill (Flickr CC0)

This new image shows that the storm comprises three separate lobes, symbolizing how complex the solar system can be!

Jupiter’s atmosphere is notoriously difficult to study, and NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has been working to change that.

Webb Telescope’s observations are helping people understand how conditions on Jupiter affected the formation of its moons and how Jupiter formed and evolved. This observation is important because we need to know how Earth-like planets form to find habitable worlds elsewhere in our solar system.

The Webb telescope released a new video showing Jupiter in all its glory, with some of the most impressive details ever seen from orbit.

The video shows a detailed view of an atmospheric vortex called the Great Red Spot, which can be as large as five times the diameter of Earth. It also indicates storms on Jupiter’s moon Io and details about the planet’s polar regions and rings.

NASA’s James Webb Telescope has been focusing on Jupiter for the past few months.

The Webb telescope’s next target is a solar system with seven planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus.

Jupiter’s Moons are Visible in the New Images

The Webb Telescope is designed to look at stars, galaxies, planets, and more, and it will have the ability to see into the dark universe.

This video is an excellent way to end the year, as it will remind people that there’s more to see than just Earth regarding space exploration.

Written by Janet Grace Ortigas
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware

Sources:

ABC News: NASA releases stunning new images of Jupiter from Webb telescope; by Mary Kekatos
The Washington Post: ‘Incredible’ Jupiter images revealed by NASA’s James Webb telescope; by Adela Suliman
BBC News: James Webb: Space telescope reveals ‘incredible’ Jupiter views

Featured and Top Image by Chris Gunn Courtesy of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image courtesy of Kevin Gill’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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