The James Webb Space Telescope has already amazed people who have a passing interest in outer space with its photos of what is beyond our atmosphere.
The planet’s Great Red Spot, a storm that could encompass Earth, is clearly seen along with smaller storms. It is depicted in white on the images because the clouds are reflecting sunlight.
“The brightness here indicates high altitude — so the Great Red Spot has high-altitude hazes, as does the equatorial region,” Heidi Hammel, Webb interdisciplinary scientist for solar system observations and vice president for science at AURA, said in a NASA news release. “The numerous bright white ‘spots’ and ‘streaks’ are likely very high-altitude cloud tops of condensed convective storms.”
The dark ribbons seen north of Jupiter’s equator have little cloud cover, NASA said.
One of the composite images shows faint rings that circle Jupiter and two small moons, NASA said.
“We’ve never seen Jupiter like this. It’s all quite incredible,” Imke de Pater, a planetary astronomer at the University of California, Berkeley, said in a statement. “We hadn’t really expected it to be this good, to be honest.”
De Pater helped lead the observation, the AP reported.
Colors such as blue, white, green, yellow and orange were added to the images to help make features more obvious. The photos were taken by the Near-Infrared Camera that has three specialized infrared filters, NASA said.
The James Webb Space Telescope is the replacement for the Hubble Space Telescope. It is a $10 billion partnership between NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency, that is zooming through space 1 million miles from Earth, the AP reported.
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