We have been long waiting for the time when NASA will begin surprising us by dropping images captured by none other than the James Webb telescope. Today (22nd August) NASA just dropped two such stunning images of the Jupiter, the biggest brother of our Solar System. The images are not just extraordinary to look at, they tones of information for scientists.
The first image is a representation of infrared light from Jupiter mapped in visible spectrum. The second image (see below) shows Jupiter in its true colors along with its Auroras, faint rings, two of its satellites and more.
There are a lot of images of Jupiter out there that will put you in awe, but this one is much different. The image that you see in the NASA’s latest tweet is a composite of several infrared images of the Jupiter. These images come from the Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) aboard the James Webb observatory. The NIRCam has 3 infrared filters using which we have a bunch of previously unknown information has been captured.
Humans cannot see infrared light, thus all the information that has been captured by the Webb has been portrayed in colors visible to us. The red colors represent the infrared with longer wavelength and the blue color represent the shorter wavelength infrared light.
The Auroras are visible in red color near the poles. Along with the auroras, you can also see the haze and lower clouds in red at the poles. Right near the poles, you can see hazes moving around in green-yellow color. The deep clouds can be seen in blue color swirling across the planet.
You can see the portions reflecting a lot of sunlight in white color. The Giant Red Spot (a storm more than twice the size of Earth) can also be seen in white as it also reflects a lot of sunlight.
Here’s another image of the Jupiter posted by NASA on James Webb observatory’s Twitter handle. In this high definition image, you can see the Jupiter in its true color along with some features captured in infrared light. On both Norther and Southern poles, you can see the Auroras. Jupiter’s rings are also visible in this image. The rings surrounding Jupiter are not as prominent as the Saturn and are around a million times fainter than the Jupiter’s brightness. You can also see two of the Jupiter’s moons, Amalthea and Adrastea.
Who processed the latest Images of Jupiter?
The Telescope data doesn’t send data back to earth in a package. The information is received on Earth as RAW data at Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), which is then processed into calibrated data for scientific analysis. This data makes it way into the Public Data Archive, which non-professional astronomers / citizen scientists can access too. One such citizen scientist Judy Schmidt tried her hands on Jupiter’s infrared data to create these stunning images of Jupiter.
The first image of Jupiter’s infrared lights in visible spectrum was created by Judy. The second image with the rings and satellites was created by Judy in collaboration with Ricardo Hueso. Ricardo studies planetary atmospheres at the University of the Basque Country, Spain.
Judy Schmidt doesn’t have a formal educational background of astronomy. She has been processing astronomical images as a citizen scientist for years and has worked on Hubble and other telescope data as a hobby.
Get high-quality images of Jupiter here:
Jupiter with Aurora, Rings, and Satellites