Jupiter is always glowing, even when viewed from the side in raw data.
Astronomers are busy sifting through new data from the James Webb Space Telescope (nicknamed Webb or JWST) to discover ever more distant galaxies. But the observatory continues to study numerous objects in the vicinity.
Among the targets of these observations is Jupiter. NASA released a handful of early JWST images of the massive planet on July 14, but the telescope has continued to revisit the planet thanks to a program designed to demonstrate JWST’s potential for studying our own solar system as well as the distant Universe.
gallery: The first photos from the James Webb Space Telescope
And that potential is evident in a raw image captured by the telescope’s near-infrared imaging (NIRCam) instrument on July 27, 2022, highlighting Jupiter’s massive storm, the famous Great Red Spot, and bands in the planet’s atmosphere.
And the image, along with Webb’s other observations, should help scientists (opens in new tab) to understand this atmosphere, to perform tasks such as characterizing its thermal structure and layers, and to study phenomena such as winds and auroras.
To create the new image, NIRCam stared at Jupiter for almost 11 minutes using the filter scientists dubbed the F212N, which observes light with a wavelength of 2.12 microns, about the length of a common bacterium (opens in new tab). The filter has earned its place at the observatory because scientists can use its data to study molecular hydrogen (opens in new tab).
According to a provisional schedule (opens in new tab) published by the Space Telescope Science Institute in Maryland, which operates JWST, the observatory’s targets for next week include Jupiter’s volcanic moon Io, the large asteroid Hygeia, and the supernova remnant Cassiopeia A.
However, observation schedules are always subject to change. Also, not all data from JWST is released immediately; For many of his observations, the scientists who requested the data are given special access for a year to facilitate their analysis.
https://www.space.com/james-webb-space-telescope-jupiter-image Jupiter shines in new raw image from the James Webb Space Telescope