James Webb Space Telescope Has Photographed Jupiter, and the Results Are Incredible

Jupiter Photographed by James Webb Space Telescope NIRCam

Photo: NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI

After being blown away by the images from the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) that NASA released, the world is hungry for more. Luckily, some eagle-eyed astronomy lovers noticed another incredible image from Webb tucked into the commissioning report released last week. This document summarizes the scientific performance of Webb over the past six months and, as part of the performance testing, it turns out that the telescope also photographed Jupiter.

Webb's NIRCam photographed the gas giant and eight other subjects during a test to see how it performed when tracking moving objects. In the side-by-side images, we see Jupiter photographed using two different filters. On the left, NIRCam used a short-wavelength filter and, on the right, a long-wavelength filter.

Not only was JWST able to photograph Jupiter, but it also picked up three of its many moons—Europa, Thebe, and Metis. Europa's shadow is even visible to the left of the Great Red Spot. NIRCam was able to pick up the faintest of details, including Jupiter's rings, which makes this an exciting preview of what's to come.

Jupiter was the slowest of the nine test targets that JWST photographed, but all of the images were successful. The results make the team hopeful that tracking even faster objects might be a possibility in the future, which would “potentially open up science for near-Earth asteroids (NEAs), comets closer to perihelion, and interstellar objects.”

The commissioning report details all the testing that Webb underwent since it was sent into orbit. And the report makes clear that it's beginning its mission after having exceeded all pre-launch estimates. “With revolutionary capabilities, JWST has begun the first of many years of scientific discovery,” the report proclaims.

Eagle-eyed astronomy lovers noticed that the James Webb Space Telescope photographed Jupiter.

James Webb Space Telescope: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter
h/t: [Science Alert]

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Staff Editor and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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