Over the past few days, NASA has released stunning images of nebulae, groups of galaxies, and even the “deepest” image of the universe taken by the James Webb Space Telescope. Now the agency has released pictures of something much closer to home than everyone’s favorite telescope – sorry, Hubble! – has caught. When the James Webb team calibrated the instrument, members took pictures of Jupiter to see if it could be used to observe nearby celestial bodies such as moons and asteroids, as well as other elements such as planetary rings and satellites. The answer, it turns out, is yes.
An image taken by the telescope’s Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) instrument’s shortwave length filter (above) clearly shows the gas giant’s distinctive band and its moon Europa. The large red spot is also perfectly visible, even though it looks white due to the way the image was treated. When the N12Cam instrument’s 2.12 micron filter was used, the resulting image showed the Jovian moons Europe, Thebes, Metis and even Europe’s shadow near the Great Red Spot. And when the team used NIRCam’s 3.23 micron filter, the resulting image captured some of Jupiter’s rings, as you can see below:
Bryan Holler, one of the scientists who helped plan these observations, said:
“Combined with the deep field images released the other day, these images of Jupiter demonstrate the full understanding of what Webb can observe, from the faintest, most distant observable galaxies to planets in our own cosmic backyard, which you can see with the naked eye. from your backyard. “
It is worth noting that James Webb captured these images moving across its field of view in three separate observations, proving that it is able to find and track stars near a celestial body that is as bright as Jupiter. This means that it can be used to study moons in our solar system and can give us the first images of the material flags known to spew from natural satellites such as Europe and Saturn’s moon Enceladus.
The team also tracked asteroids in the asteroid belt to find out the fastest objects it can observe. They found that it can still collect data from objects moving up to 67 millibus seconds per second across its field of view. NASA says it is equivalent to tracking a turtle moving from a mile away. As Stefanie Milam, James Webb’s deputy project researcher, said, these images show that “everything worked excellently.” We can expect not only more impressively detailed images of space in the future, but also information that may shed more light on how the first galaxies were formed.