Jupiter glows with polar lights and shimmering clouds in new imagery from the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).
NASA released the sharp new pictures Monday (Aug. 22). The images are composites from several different wavelengths of light. In some of the new images, two of the planet’s moons, Amalthea and Adrastea, sparkle in the gas giant’s orbit, and Jupiter’s faint rings glow like a halo. At the planet’s North and South poles, the northern and southern lights glow with a pale fire.
“We hadn’t really expected it to be this good, to be honest,” planetary astronomer Imke de Pater, professor emerita of the University of California, Berkeley, who co-led the observations of Jupiter, said in a statement. “It’s really remarkable that we can see details on Jupiter together with its rings, tiny satellites, and even galaxies in one image.”
The images come courtesy of NASA’s newest space-based telescope, which has already wowed the world with psychedelic images of far-flung galaxies. The JWST is operated primarily by NASA, in partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA) and Canadian Space Agency (CSA). The photos of Jupiter, part of an observation effort led by de Pater and Thierry Fouchet, a professor at the Paris Observatory, showcase what the space telescope can do closer to home. [Continue reading…]