James Webb Space Telescope Shows Jupiter’s Auroras, Tiny Moons


CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — The world’s newest and largest space telescope shows Jupiter like never before, auroras and all.

Scientists released images of the largest planet in the solar system on Monday.

The James Webb Space Telescope took the photos in July, capturing unprecedented views of Jupiter’s northern and southern aurora and swirling polar haze. Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, a storm big enough to swallow Earth, stands out brilliantly alongside countless smaller storms.

A wide-field image is particularly spectacular, showing the faint rings around the planet, as well as two tiny moons against a shimmering galaxy background.

READ MORE: 5 awesome new images of the universe from the James Webb Space Telescope

“We have never seen Jupiter like this. It’s absolutely amazing,” said planetary astronomer Imke de Pater of the University of California, Berkeley, who helped lead the observations.

“To be honest, we didn’t really expect it to be this good,” she added in a statement.

The infrared images were artificially colored blue, white, green, yellow and orange, according to the US-French research team, to bring out the features.

NASA and the European Space Agency, the $10 billion successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, exploded late last year and have been observing the cosmos in infrared since the summer. Scientists hope to see the dawn of the universe with Webb, going back to when the first stars and galaxies formed 13.7 billion years ago.

The observatory is located 1.6 million kilometers from Earth.


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