Jupiter always shines, even though seen sideways in unprocessed data.
Astronomers are busy poring through new data from the James Webb Space Telescope (nicknamed Webb or JWST) in an ongoing rush to identify ever-more-distant galaxies. However the observatory is continuing to review a lot of objects nearer to home.
On the list of targets of these observations is Jupiter. NASA released a small number of early JWST images of the massive planet on July 14, however the telescope has continued to revisit the earth thanks to an application designed to demonstrate JWST’s potential to review our very own solar system along with the distant universe.
And that potential is on display in a raw image snapped by the telescope’s Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam) instrument on July 27, 2022, that highlights Jupiter’s massive storm, famous the Great Red Spot, in addition to bands in the planet’s atmosphere.
And the image, alongside Webb’s other observations, are made to help scientists (opens in new tab) recognize that atmosphere, tackling tasks like characterizing its thermal structure and layers, in addition to studying phenomena like winds and auroras.
To generate the brand new image, NIRCam stared at Jupiter for pretty much 11 minutes using what scientists call the F212N filter, which observes light which has a wavelength of 2.12 microns, concerning the amount of a standard bacterium (opens in new tab). The filter earned its put on the observatory because scientists may use its data to study molecular hydrogen (opens in new tab).
In accordance with a preliminary schedule (opens in new tab) released by the area Telescope Science Institute in Maryland, which operates JWST, the observatory’s targets for in a few days include Jupiter’s volcanic moon Io, the large asteroid Hygeia and the supernova remnants Cassiopeia A.
However, observation schedules are always at the mercy of change. Furthermore, not absolutely all of JWST’s data has been immediately made public; for a lot of its observations, the scientists who requested the info get special access for just one year to facilitate their analysis.
Meghan is really a senior writer at Space.com and contains a lot more than five years’ experience as a science journalist located in NEW YORK. She joined Space.com in July 2018, with previous writing published in outlets including Newsweek and Audubon. Meghan earned an MA in science journalism from NY University and a BA in classics from Georgetown University, and in her leisure time she enjoys reading and visiting museums. Follow her on Twitter at @meghanbartels.