NASA has kept busy releasing photos from the James Webb Space Telescope, taking those with an interest in space on a virtual trip to the edges of the cosmos. While the first batch of images released included a look at the furthest reaches of the known universe, the outfit recently unveiled a snapshot of something much, much closer.
Thursday, the space agency released a picture the Webb Space Telescope capturing Jupiter and its moon Europa. As you might expect from the planet, its massive Great Red Spot is prominently displayed, swirling through its atmosphere thrusting winds across the planet the clock in upwards of 400 miles per hour.
"Combined with the deep field images released the other day, these images of Jupiter demonstrate the full grasp of what Webb can observe, from the faintest, most distant observable galaxies to planets in our own cosmic backyard that you can see with the naked eye from your actual backyard," scientist Bryan Holler said in a blog post on the NASA website.
"I couldn't believe that we saw everything so clearly, and how bright they were," added Stefanie Milam, Webb's deputy project scientist for planetary science at the Goddard Space Flight Center. "It's really exciting to think of the capability and opportunity that we have for observing these kinds of objects in our solar system."
Webb Telescope scientist Neil Rowlands said in a separate blog post that the data and pictures being return from Webb are better quality than anyone ever expected.
"With the Webb telescope achieving better-than-expected image quality, early in commissioning we intentionally defocused the guiders by a small amount to help ensure they met their performance requirements," Rowlands said in the blog post. "When this image was taken, I was thrilled to clearly see all the detailed structure in these faint galaxies. Given what we now know is possible with deep broad-band guider images, perhaps such images, taken in parallel with other observations where feasible, could prove scientifically useful in the future."0comments