James Webb telescope takes surreal images of Jupiter’s auroras

The James Webb Space Telescope team is still working on its ability to capture detailed images close to home. Webb took some near-infrared images showing Jupiter’s polar auroras. You can also see the planet’s extremely faint rings and two of its smaller moons, Amalthea (the bright spot on the far left) and Adrastea (the dot on the left edge of the central ring).

The photos were taken with NIRCam’s widescreen display on July 27. As for the trippy visuals? Astronomers have created composites using various images taken with filters assigned to multiple colors (notably visible in the image below). The Great Red Spot and other cloud formations are white because they reflect large amounts of sunlight.

Jupiter auroras captured by James Webb Space Telescope

NASA, ESA, Jupiter ERS team; image processing by Judy Schmidt

The James Webb crew didn’t just create these images for bragging rights. The observations should provide more insight into Jupiter’s ‘inner life’, according to the European Space Agency. That, in turn, could help scientists understand the behavior of gas giants outside the solar system. In other words, Webb’s data may soon prove useful on multiple levels.

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