Webb’s Jupiter Images Showcase Auroras

James Webb’s Jupiter Images Showcase Auroras, Hazes

With giant storms, powerful winds, auroras, and extreme temperature and pressure conditions, Jupiter has a lot going on. Now, the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope has captured new images of the planet. Webb’s Jupiter observations will give scientists even more clues to Jupiter’s inner life.
With giant storms, powerful winds, auroras, and extreme temperature and pressure conditions, Jupiter has a lot going on. Now, the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope has captured new images of the planet. Webb’s Jupiter observations will give scientists even more clues to Jupiter’s inner life.

 With giant storms, effective winds, auroras, and intense temperature and pressure conditions, Jupiter has a lot going on. Now, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has captured new pictures of the planet. Webb’s Jupiter observations will provide scientists even more clues to Jupiter’s internal life.


“We hadn’t really expected it to be this good, to be honest,” stated planetary astronomer Imke de Pater, professor emerita of the University of California, Berkeley. De Pater led the observations of Jupiter with Thierry Fouchet, a professor at the Paris Observatory, as section of an worldwide collaboration for Webb’s Early Release Science program. Webb itself is an worldwide mission led via NASA with its companions ESA (European Space Agency) and CSA (Canadian Space Agency). “It’s actually remarkable that we can see details on Jupiter collectively with its rings, tiny satellites, and even galaxies in one image,” she said.


The two pictures come from the observatory’s Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam), which has three specialised infrared filters that exhibit details of the planet. Since infrared light is invisible to the human eye, the light has been mapped onto the visible spectrum. Generally, the longest wavelengths appear redder and the shortest wavelengths are proven as extra blue. Scientists collaborated with citizen scientist Judy Schmidt to translate the Webb information into images.


In the standalone view of Jupiter, created from a composite of quite a few pics from Webb, auroras extend to excessive altitudes above each the northern and southern poles of Jupiter. The auroras shine in a filter that is mapped to redder colors, which additionally highlights light reflected from lower clouds and higher hazes. A extraordinary filter, mapped to yellows and greens, indicates hazes swirling around the northern and southern poles. A 1/3 filter, mapped to blues, showcases light that is mirrored from a deeper major cloud.


The Great Red Spot, a well-known storm so huge it ought to swallow Earth, seems white in these views, as do other clouds, due to the fact they are reflecting a lot of sunlight.


“The brightness here indicates excessive altitude – so the Great Red Spot has high-altitude hazes, as does the equatorial region,” stated Heidi Hammel, Webb interdisciplinary scientist for solar system observations and vice president for science at AURA. “The numerous bright white ‘spots’ and ‘streaks’ are probably very high-altitude cloud tops of condensed convective storms.” By contrast, dark ribbons north of the equatorial region have little cloud cover.   

Webb NIRCam composite image from two filters – F212N (orange) and F335M (cyan) – of Jupiter system, unlabeled (top) and labeled (bottom). Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, Jupiter ERS Team; image processing by Ricardo Hueso (UPV/EHU) and Judy Schmidt.
Webb NIRCam composite image from two filters – F212N (orange) and F335M (cyan) – of Jupiter system, unlabeled (top) and labeled (bottom). Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, Jupiter ERS Team; image processing by Ricardo Hueso (UPV/EHU) and Judy Schmidt.

Webb NIRCam composite image from two filters – F212N (orange) and F335M (cyan) – of Jupiter system, unlabeled (top) and labeled (bottom). Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, Jupiter ERS Team; image processing by Ricardo Hueso (UPV/EHU) and Judy Schmidt.
Webb NIRCam composite image from two filters – F212N (orange) and F335M (cyan) – of Jupiter system, unlabeled (top) and labeled (bottom). Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, Jupiter ERS Team; image processing by Ricardo Hueso (UPV/EHU) and Judy Schmidt.


In a wide-field view, Webb sees Jupiter with its faint rings, which are a million instances fainter than the planet, and two tiny moons known as Amalthea and Adrastea. The fuzzy spots in the lower background are probably galaxies “photobombing” this Jovian view.


“This one picture sums up the science of our Jupiter device program, which research the dynamics and chemistry of Jupiter itself, its rings, and its satellite system,” Fouchet said. Researchers have already begun examining Webb statistics to get new science consequences about our solar system’s largest planet.  


Data from telescopes like Webb doesn’t arrive on Earth neatly packaged. Instead, it consists of statistics about the brightness of the light on Webb’s detectors. This data arrives at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), Webb’s mission and science operations center, as raw data. STScI procedures the information into calibrated documents for scientific analysis and gives you it to the Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes for dissemination. Scientists then translate that statistics into pictures like these all through the course of their research (here’s a podcast about that). While a crew at STScI formally strategies Webb photos for respectable release, non-professional astronomers recognized as citizen scientists regularly dive into the public statistics archive to retrieve and method images, too.


Judy Schmidt of Modesto California, a longtime photograph processor in the citizen science community, processed these new views of Jupiter. For the photo that consists of the tiny satellites, she collaborated with Ricardo Hueso, a co-investigator on these observations, who research planetary atmospheres at the University of the Basque Country in Spain.


Schmidt has no formal instructional background in astronomy. But 10 years ago, an ESA contest sparked her insatiable ardour for picture processing. The “Hubble’s Hidden Treasures” competition invited the public to discover new gems in Hubble data. Out of almost 3,000 submissions, Schmidt took home third place for an photograph of a newborn star.


Since the ESA contest, she has been working on Hubble and different telescope statistics as a hobby. “Something about it simply caught with me, and I can’t stop,” she said. “I should spend hours and hours each day.”


Her love of astronomy photographs led her to process pictures of nebulae, globular clusters, stellar nurseries, and greater astounding cosmic objects. Her guiding philosophy is: “I strive to get it to seem natural, even if it’s now not something shut to what your eye can see.” These snap shots have caught the interest of expert scientists, together with Hammel, who before collaborated with Schmidt on refining Hubble photos of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9’s Jupiter impact.



Jupiter dominates the black background of space. The planet is striated with swirling horizontal stripes of neon turquoise, periwinkle, light pink, and cream. The stripes engage and combine at their edges like cream in coffee. Along each of the poles, the planet glows in turquoise. Bright orange auroras glow simply above the planet’s floor at each poles.

Webb NIRCam composite picture of Jupiter from three filters – F360M (red), F212N (yellow-green), and F150W2 (cyan) – and alignment due to the planet’s rotation. Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, Jupiter ERS Team; photo processing with the aid of Judy Schmidt.

With giant storms, effective winds, auroras, and severe temperature and strain conditions, Jupiter has a lot going on. Now, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has captured new pics of the planet. Webb’s Jupiter observations will provide scientists even greater clues to Jupiter’s internal life.


“We hadn’t definitely anticipated it to be this good, to be honest,” stated planetary astronomer Imke de Pater, professor emerita of the University of California, Berkeley. De Pater led the observations of Jupiter with Thierry Fouchet, a professor at the Paris Observatory, as section of an global collaboration for Webb’s Early Release Science program. Webb itself is an global mission led by way of NASA with its companions ESA (European Space Agency) and CSA (Canadian Space Agency). “It’s really top notch that we can see details on Jupiter collectively with its rings, tiny satellites, and even galaxies in one image,” she said.


The two pictures come from the observatory’s Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam), which has three specialised infrared filters that exhibit details of the planet. Since infrared light is invisible to the human eye, the light has been mapped onto the seen spectrum. Generally, the longest wavelengths show up redder and the shortest wavelengths are proven as greater blue. Scientists collaborated with citizen scientist Judy Schmidt to translate the Webb statistics into images.


In the standalone view of Jupiter, created from a composite of numerous photographs from Webb, auroras prolong to excessive altitudes above each the northern and southern poles of Jupiter. The auroras shine in a filter that is mapped to redder colors, which additionally highlights light reflected from decrease clouds and higher hazes. A distinct filter, mapped to yellows and greens, suggests hazes swirling round the northern and southern poles. A third filter, mapped to blues, showcases light that is reflected from a deeper major cloud.


The Great Red Spot, a well-known storm so large it ought to swallow Earth, seems white in these views, as do different clouds, because they are reflecting a lot of sunlight.


“The brightness right here shows excessive altitude – so the Great Red Spot has high-altitude hazes, as does the equatorial region,” stated Heidi Hammel, Webb interdisciplinary scientist for solar system observations and vice president for science at AURA. “The numerous brilliant white ‘spots’ and ‘streaks’ are probable very high-altitude cloud tops of condensed convective storms.” By contrast, darkish ribbons north of the equatorial location have little cloud cover.


A wide-field view showcases Jupiter in the higher proper quadrant. The planet’s swirling horizontal stripes are rendered in blues, browns, and cream. Electric blue auroras glow above Jupiter’s north and south poles. A white glow emanates out from the auroras. Along the planet’s equator, rings glow in a faint white. At the some distance left part of the rings, a moon seems as a tiny white dot. Slightly similarly to the left, every other moon glows with tiny white diffraction spikes. The relaxation of the photograph is the blackness of space, with faintly glowing white galaxies in the distance.


A wide-field view showcases Jupiter in the higher proper quadrant. The planet’s swirling horizontal stripes are rendered in blues, browns, and cream. Electric blue auroras glow above Jupiter’s north and south poles. A white glow emanates out from the auroras. Along the planet’s equator, rings glow in a faint white. At the a long way left area of the rings, a moon seems as a tiny white dot. Slightly similarly to the left, some other moon glows with tiny white diffraction spikes. The relaxation of the picture is the blackness of space, with faintly glowing white galaxies in the distance.

Webb NIRCam composite photograph from two filters – F212N (orange) and F335M (cyan) – of Jupiter system, unlabeled (top) and labeled (bottom). Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, Jupiter ERS Team; picture processing by means of Ricardo Hueso (UPV/EHU) and Judy Schmidt.

In a wide-field view, Webb sees Jupiter with its faint rings, which are a million instances fainter than the planet, and two tiny moons known as Amalthea and Adrastea. The fuzzy spots in the lower background are probably galaxies “photobombing” this Jovian view.


“This one picture sums up the science of our Jupiter system program, which research the dynamics and chemistry of Jupiter itself, its rings, and its satellite system,” Fouchet said. Researchers have already begun inspecting Webb records to get new science consequences about our solar system’s biggest planet.


Data from telescopes like Webb doesn’t arrive on Earth neatly packaged. Instead, it consists of facts about the brightness of the mild on Webb’s detectors. This statistics arrives at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), Webb’s mission and science operations center, as raw data. STScI techniques the statistics into calibrated archives for scientific evaluation and provides it to the Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes for dissemination. Scientists then translate that statistics into pictures like these throughout the direction of their lookup (here’s a podcast about that). While a group at STScI formally strategies Webb pictures for respectable release, non-professional astronomers recognized as citizen scientists regularly dive into the public statistics archive to retrieve and process images, too.


Judy Schmidt of Modesto California, a longtime photograph processor in the citizen science community, processed these new views of Jupiter. For the picture that consists of the tiny satellites, she collaborated with Ricardo Hueso, a co-investigator on these observations, who research planetary atmospheres at the University of the Basque Country in Spain.


At the left, a seated photograph of Judy Schmidt on a bench in opposition to a backdrop of inexperienced leaves. On the right, an astronomical photo of a from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope indicates the butterfly-like planetary nebula in green, yellow, and blue, in opposition to the black backdrop of space.

Citizen scientist Judy Schmidt of Modesto, California, procedures astronomical pics from NASA spacecraft, such as the Hubble Space Telescope. An instance of her work is Minkowski’s Butterfly, right, a planetary nebula in the course of the constellation Ophiuchus.

Schmidt has no formal educational history in astronomy. But 10 years ago, an ESA contest sparked her insatiable ardour for photograph processing. The “Hubble’s Hidden Treasures” opposition invited the public to locate new gemstones in Hubble data. Out of almost 3,000 submissions, Schmidt took home third place for an picture of a newborn star.


Since the ESA contest, she has been working on Hubble and different telescope information as a hobby. “Something about it simply caught with me, and I can’t stop,” she said. “I should spend hours and hours each and every day.”


Her love of astronomy photos led her to method photos of nebulae, globular clusters, stellar nurseries, and greater remarkable cosmic objects. Her guiding philosophy is: “I strive to get it to seem natural, even if it’s no longer something shut to what your eye can see.” These pics have caught the interest of expert scientists, which include Hammel, who in the past collaborated with Schmidt on refining Hubble pics of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9’s Jupiter impact.


Jupiter is clearly more difficult to work with than extra far-off cosmic wonders, Schmidt says, due to the fact of how speedy it rotates. Combining a stack of photos into one view can be difficult when Jupiter’s different elements have turned around in the course of the time that the pictures had been taken and are no longer aligned. Sometimes she has to digitally make changes to stack the photographs in a way that makes sense.


Webb will supply observations about each section of cosmic history, however if Schmidt had to pick out one element to be excited about, it would be extra Webb views of star-forming regions. In particular, she is interested by way of younger stars that produce effective jets in small nebula patches known as Herbig–Haro objects. “I’m certainly searching ahead to seeing these bizarre and exquisite baby stars blowing holes into nebula's,” she said.


– Elizabeth Landau, NASA Headquarters