Side-by-side images of Jupiter show James Webb’s infrared power. It detects auroras, rings and fainter galaxies that Hubble can’t see clearly.

Side-by-side images of Jupiter show James Webb’s infrared power. It detects auroras, rings and fainter galaxies that Hubble can’t see clearly.
Side-by-side images of Jupiter show James Webb’s infrared power. It detects auroras, rings and fainter galaxies that Hubble can’t see clearly.
Hubble Space Telescope image of Jupiter in the visible light spectrum, left. Right, infrared image from the James Webb Space Telescope of Jupiter.Hubble, NASA, European Space Agency, Jupiter ERS team; Image manipulation by Judy Schmidt
  • NASA has released new snapshots of Jupiter captured by the James Webb Space Telescope in August.

  • The Hubble Space Telescope He also took pictures of Jupiter, but Webb reveals details that Hubble couldn’t see.

  • Astronomers say Webb’s images provide a more complete picture of Jupiter’s aurora, rings and moons.

As the Hubble Space Telescope takes great pictures of Jupiter for decades, new pictures of Jupiter captured by the James Webb Space Telescope in August, call for comparison. Webb’s snapshots, studied side by side, revealed startling new details of the gas giant that Hubble was unable to figure out.

“JWST doesn’t give us anything clearer than Hubble here, but it does give us something different,” James O’Donoghue, a planetary scientist with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, told Insider. “I think JWST gives us an extra feeling.”

Often described as the successor to Hubbleweb launched on December 25, 2021, after more than two decades of development. As of that point, the telescope is worth $10 billion. It has traveled more than a million miles from Earth and is now in a stable gravitational orbit, collecting infrared light and staring at objects whose light was emitted more than 13.5 billion years ago. , which Hubble can’t see. This is because this light has been converted into infrared wavelengths that Webb specifically designed to detect.

The result: Compared to Hubble, Webb offers sharper, clearer images and new details of Jupiter’s aurora borealis, storm systems, rings and small moons.

Hubble Space Telescope image of Jupiter in ultraviolet light on the left. James Webb Space Telescope image of Jupiter at right.Hubble, NASA, European Space Agency, Jupiter ERS team; Image manipulation by Judy Schmidt

Webb has used it to take new buyer photos near infrared camera (NIRCam), which translates infrared light into colors that the human eye can see. The image of Jupiter taken by Webb, top right, has been artificially colored to highlight certain features. Red highlights the planet’s amazing aurora, while light reflected from clouds appears blue. Jupiter’s Great Red Spot—a giant storm that has been circulating for centuries—is so bright with reflected sunlight that it appears white.

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The Hubble Space Telescope can also detect Jupiter’s aurora borealis when it captures ultraviolet light. In the left image above, Hubble captured visual observations of the planet’s northern lights in a composite.

However, Webb’s infrared image shows the auroras in greater detail, illuminating the planet’s poles.

The aurora borealis are colorful light shows that are not unique to Earth. Jupiter has the brightest aurora borealis in the solar system, according to NASA. On both Earth and Jupiter, the aurora occurs when charged particles, such as protons or electrons, interact with the magnetic field — known as the magnetosphere — that surrounds the planet. Jupiter’s magnetic field is about 20,000 times stronger than Earth’s.

In his research, O’Donoghue studies Jupiter’s upper atmosphere, several thousand kilometers above the clouds you can see in the visible images. “With Jupiter, we can see Jupiter’s infrared auroras in the upper atmosphere extending above the planet,” O’Donoghue said.

While Hubble can see Jupiter’s aurora borealis when capturing ultraviolet light, Webb’s infrared image shows the auroras in greater detail.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” O’Donoghue said, adding, “I can’t believe we got that shot from such a distance. It really shows how effective JWST is when shooting in low light. “

Hubble Space Telescope image of Jupiter, left, with its icy moon Europa. At right, the James Webb Space Telescope image of Jupiter with its small moons, Amalthea and Adrastea.NASA, ESA, Hubble and ERS Jupiter team; Image processing by Ricardo Hueso (UPV/EHU) and Judy Schmid

New Web Photos for Copper Two of the planet’s moons appear, Amalthea and Adrastea. Adrastea, the smaller of the two, is only 12 miles wide, according to NASA. In comparison, the Hubble image of Jupiter shows the oceanic moon Europa, which is 1,940 miles wide.

Astronomers believe the ocean of Europa makes it a promising place to look for life within our solar system.

The Hubble Space Telescope captured an image of Jupiter’s small moon, Amalthea.NASA, ESA and Z. Levay

Webb took pictures of icy Europe, which was released in July, but the new shot was taken from an angle from which Europe can’t be seen. Instead, Webb’s new Jupiter image shows two smaller, fainter moons that can be seen more clearly in the infrared. Jupiter has 79 moons, according to NASA.

“This is one of my all-time favorite pictures of Jupiter,” said O’Donoghue.

The bottom image of Jupiter, taken by the James Webb Space Telescope, shows the planet’s thin rings made up of cosmic debris.Hubble, NASA, European Space Agency, Jupiter ERS team; Image manipulation by Judy Schmidt

Webb also discovered Jupiter’s thin rings, which are made up of dust particles formed when cosmic debris collided with four of Jupiter’s moons — including Amalthea, which is also shown in newly released images.

“The JWST image is, of course, amazing,” Boston University astronomer Luke Moore told Insider. “The level of spatial detail is particularly impressive in the infrared – thanks to JWST’s large primary mirror – and the contrast is astounding, where you can see incredibly faint rings, as well as a brighter planet.”

Faint spots in the background of the James Webb Space Telescope images of Jupiter, right, are galaxies.Hubble, NASA, European Space Agency, Jupiter ERS team; Image manipulation by Judy Schmidt

The blurry spots lurking at the bottom of the frame in a Webb image are likely the “photobombing” image of galaxies from Webb’s image of Jupiter, according to NASA. These faint galaxies are hidden in Hubble’s image of Jupiter, where the planet — and its moon Europa — can be seen against a grainy black surface.

Thanks to Webb’s ability to collect infrared light, which is invisible to the human eye, he is able to cut through cosmic dust and see far away. One of the main goals of the new telescope is to find galaxies so far away that their light would travel almost the entire history of the universe to reach Webb. NASA says Webb can see beyond other telescopes, like Hubble, and take pictures of very faint galaxies that radiated their light in the first billion years or so after the Big Bang.

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Tags: Sidebyside images Jupiter show James Webbs infrared power detects auroras rings fainter galaxies Hubble

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