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New Jupiter Pics Captured By James Webb Telescope Show Rings, Auroras

NASA’s powerful new James Webb space telescope has captured images of Jupiter that show the gas giant in great detail. The agency, in a blog post about the images, said they will give scientists even more clues to Jupiter’s inner life. Captured on July 27, the images have been digitally enhanced and artificially coloured to make specific features stand out. They show some ornamental designs around the Great Red Spot and provide an unprecedented view of the auroras over Jupiter’s north and south poles.
“We hadn’t really expected it to be this good, to be honest,” planetary astronomer Imke de Pater, professor emerita of the University of California, Berkeley, is quoted as saying by NASA in its blog.

“It’s really remarkable that we can see details on Jupiter together with its rings, tiny satellites, and even galaxies in one image,” she added.

The latest images have been captured by the James Webb observatory’s Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam), which has three specialised infrared filters that showcase details of the planet.

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About the auroras, NASA said that extend to high altitudes above both the northern and southern poles of Jupiter. “The auroras shine in a filter that is mapped to redder colors, which also highlights light reflected from lower clouds and upper hazes. A different filter, mapped to yellows and greens, shows hazes swirling around the northern and southern poles. A third filter, mapped to blues, showcases light that is reflected from a deeper main cloud.”

One wide-field image presents a unique lineup of the planet, its faint rings and two of Jupiter’s smaller moons – Amalthea and Adrastea – against a background of galaxies, said NASA. The fuzzy spots in the lower background are likely galaxies “photobombing” this Jovian view, it added.

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