james webb telescope aurora jupiter nasa 1661249059085

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), billed as the world’s largest and most powerful telescope, has taken some interesting pictures of Jupiter. Along with strong winds and massive storms, the new images show some spectacular auroras on the gas giant. The images provide some of Jupiter’s intricate details that scientists believe may shed light on life within its interior. The observatory’s Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam) was used to capture the images. Equipped with three specialized infrared filters, the instrument provides detailed data on Earth. However, infrared light is invisible to the human eye, so scientists manipulate the captured light to bring it the visible range.

An independent photo of Jupiter was created by stitching together several images from the Webb Telescope. It shows the aurora extending to high altitudes of the Earth above the north and south poles. Auroras appear bright when they shine in a filter mapped to a redder color.

The image also highlights light bouncing off Jupiter’s upper clouds and upper haze. In a different filter, the haze can also be seen swirling around the north and south poles, mapped in green and yellow. Another filter mapped to blue shows light bouncing off the deeper primary cloud. Colors are drawn by scientists. The longest wavelengths appear redder in the image, while the shortest wavelengths appear bluer in the image.

The image also offers a view of the Great Red Spot, a famously massive storm capable of engulfing the Earth. The site and its clouds appear white in the image because they reflect a lot of sunlight.

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“The brightness here indicates high altitude—so the Great Red Spot has high-altitude haze, as does the equator. Numerous bright white ‘spots’ and ‘streaks’ are likely high-altitude cloud tops of condensation convective storms,” ​​Webb Solar System Observatory says Heidi Hammel, an interdisciplinary scientist and AURA’s Vice President of Science.

This wide-angle view of Jupiter features faint rings a times fainter than the planet itself. Two of its smaller moons, Amalthea and Adrastea, also appear in the image.

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By Rebecca French

Rebecca French writes books about Technology and smartwatches. Her books have received starred reviews in Technology Shout, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Booklist. She is a New York Times and a USA Today Bestseller...