Jupiter shines like a horse in an experimental image taken by the James Webb Telescope

After wowing the world with the first scientific images of the ancient universe, the James Webb Telescope trained its lenses on our own solar system. Jupiter is its first target.

NASA has released images taken while operating a flying observatory that show Jupiter in all its glory. This image is published in the Mikulsky Space Telescope Archive of the Space Telescope Science Institute.

Jupiter and some of its moons are seen through NIRCam’s 3.23 micron filter. Credits: NASA, ESA, CSA and B. Holler and J. Stansberry (STScI)

The data includes not only images but also spectra of several asteroids captured to test the telescope’s instruments before science operations officially begin on July 12. “These data demonstrate Webb’s ability to track Solar System targets and produce images and spectra with unprecedented detail,” NASA said in a statement.

Looking at Jupiter, the telescope, located 15,00,000 kilometers from home, saw distinct rings around the planet and the Great Red Spot, a storm big enough to engulf Earth. The iconic spot appears white in this image due to the processing of the web’s infrared image.

“Coupled with deep-field images released the other day, these images of Jupiter demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of what Webb can observe. From your real backyard to planets in our own cosmic backyard that can be seen with the naked eye,” said Brian Holler, a scientist at the Space Telescope Science Institute who helped plan the observation. .”

Left: Jupiter, center, and its moons Europa, Thebes, and Metis as seen through the James Webb Space Telescope’s NIRCam instrument 2.12 micron filter. Right: Jupiter and Europa, Thebes and Metis seen through NIRCam’s 3.23 micron filter (Credits: NASA, ESA, CSA and B Holler and J Stansberry)

Meanwhile, Europa, the icy world that will soon welcome a man-made spacecraft, can be seen glowing in the background. What’s more, Europa’s shadow can be seen to the left of the Great Red Spot. Other moons visible in these images include Thebes and Metis.

Scientists are particularly interested in seeing these images, NASA said, because they are evidence that the Web can track satellites and rings near bright solar system objects such as Jupiter, Saturn and Mars. Scientists will use the web to investigate the tantalizing question of whether we can see objects ejected from moons like Europa and Saturn’s moon Enceladus.

Webb easily captured some of Jupiter’s rings, particularly those that stood out in the NIRcam long-wavelength filter image.

“Jupiter images in narrow-band filters are designed to provide good images of the planet’s entire disc, but the images contain a wealth of additional information about the faintest objects (Metis, Deep, main ring, nebulae). The one-minute exposures were a very pleasant surprise,” John Stansberry. , said the monitoring scientist and NIRCam commissioning lead.

Read | Death of a star: The James Webb Space Telescope shows a star’s final moments

Read | Our time machine works: The James Webb telescope provides images from the birth of the universe

Watch Live | NASA unveils first images taken by James Webb Telescope

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