New Space Telescope Shows Jupiter’s Auroras, Small Moons

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

Scientists released the photos of the solar system’s largest planet on Monday.

The James Webb Space Telescope took the photos in July, capturing unprecedented images of Jupiter’s north and south lights and the swirling Arctic nebula. Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, a storm big enough to engulf the Earth, stands out brightly alongside countless smaller storms.

One wide-angle shot is particularly dramatic, showing the faint rings around the planet, as well as two small moons against a shimmering galaxy background.

‘We’ve never seen Jupiter like this. It’s all pretty incredible,” said planetary astronomer Imke de Pater of the University of California, Berkeley, who helped lead the observations.

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

The infrared images were artificially colored in blue, white, green, yellow and orange to make the features stand out, according to the American-French research team.

NASA and the European Space Agency’s $10 billion successor Hubble Space Telescope shot off late last year and observed the cosmos in the infrared since the summer. With Webb, scientists hope to witness the dawn of the universe, looking all the way back to when the first stars and galaxies formed 13.7 billion years ago.

The observatory is 1 million miles (1.6 million kilometers) from Earth.


The Associated Press Health and Science Department is supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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