“We didn’t really expect it to be this good, to be honest,” planetary astronomer Imke de Pater, a professor emerita at the University of California, Berkeley, said in a press release.
De Pater and Thierry Fouchet, a professor at the Paris Observatory, conducted observations of the largest planet in our solar system using the Webb telescope — which is itself an international venture of NASA with the European Space Agency and Canadian Space Agency, said nasa.
Sketching an image that goes from orange and yellow at Jupiter’s poles to blue and purple at the center, several images from the telescope came together to form an overall composition and give Earth a view of the gas giant.
According to NASA, you can also see faint rings and distant galaxies “photo bombing” in the background.
And Jupiter’s famous Great Red Spot — a storm big enough to engulf the Earth — appears white in these images.
“The numerous bright white ‘spots’ and ‘streaks’ are likely very high-altitude cloud tops from condensed convective storms,” said Heidi Hammel, Webb’s interdisciplinary scientist for solar system observations and vice president of science at the Association of Universities for Research. in Astronomy.
Scientists worked with citizen scientist Judy Schmidt to translate data to form the telescope’s composite images, which provide a better picture of Jupiter’s life, NASA said.
Jupiter is difficult to translate into images because of the speed at which it rotates, said Schmidt, who is based in Modesto, California.
“This one image summarizes the science of our Jupiter system program, which studies the dynamics and chemistry of Jupiter itself, its rings and its satellite system,” Fouchet said.
But Jupiter isn’t Webb’s only subject. The space telescope uses infrared light to reveal otherwise invisible aspects of the universe.
Development of the world’s premier space observatory began in 2004, and after years of delays, the telescope and its massive gold mirror were finally launched on December 25, 2021.
The telescope will look at every phase of cosmic history, including the first post-Big Bang glow that created our universe and the formation of the galaxies, stars and planets that fill it today.
The telescope is also exploring and observing exoplanetary systems, each of which consists of a planet outside our solar system and its host star.
Some of these exoplanets are potentially habitable, and if you look into their atmospheres, you can find clues in the ongoing search for life beyond Earth.
Ashley Strickland and Megan Marples of CNN contributed to this report.