The James Webb Space Telescope not only examined celestial bodies millions or billions of light-years away, but also pointed its large mirror at Jupiter and its potentially habitable moon, Europa. Again, the result exceeds astronomers’ expectations.
Theunveiled on July 12, effectively inaugurating the science campaign of the largest and most powerful space telescope ever launched, stunned us with their discoveries on Tuesday. There is so much to say about each of them, from the farthest reaches of revisited – ” » -, to the of the southern ring, passing through a nebula with its staggering “reliefs” of detail, not to mention the intertwined galaxies of Stefan’s Quintet, where one can even see individual… In short, already iconic images. An impressive leap in detail obtained by his instruments for cosmic objects tens of thousands of kilometers away … several billion light years away. And “this is just the beginning!” (this is just the beginning), repeated the who participated in their live presentations by NASA.
And now Jupiter!
Another surprise and beauty registered on July 12 in the Mikulski archives of the STSI (Space Telescope Science Institute) as part of the commissioning of James-Webb, a well-known and nearby object: Jupiter. Theare delighted and do not hide their admiration for the quality of the images and data obtained.
Curious to see what it would be like to observe such a close and brilliant celestial body, they were not disappointed: these portraits of the largest planet in thereveal indeed its very discrete rings (image from NIRCam), the moon Europa and the small Metis and Thebes. “The images of Jupiter in the narrowband filters are designed to create beautiful images of the entire disk of the planet, but the wealth of additional information about very faint objects (Métis, Thebes, the main ring, the nebulae) in these images is made with approximately a minute of exposure was a very pleasant surprise”says John Stansberry, who cares for the NIRCam instrument.
Ok, here’s a real JWST Jupiter. The read noise (vertical lines) is… significant. But look, the GRS has its own diffraction peaks. This is the NIRCam data with f322w2-f323n overlaid in red and f212n in sky blue. Bg is a grayscale combination of both. pic.twitter.com/VWNXFBLpwE
—Judy Schmidt (@SpaceGeck) July 15, 2022
as for itone of the four Galilean satellites of Jupiter (visible with binoculars), we can also see its shadow projected onto Jupiter, just to the left of the famous . This potentially habitable satellite that shelters a global ocean under a thick crust of ice will be a privileged target for astronomers hoping with the space telescope. “I think that’s just one of the coolest things we can do in the solar system with this telescope.”says Stefanie Milam, planetary science researcher at the GSFC (Goddard Space Flight Center) from NASA.
is not yet done surprising us and the scientific images of the universe will rain down for our greatest pleasure and show us structures and objects that we had never seen before.