NASA has captured new telescopic images of Jupiter that show auroras, altitude levels and cloud cover.
The latest photos, taken with NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, show bands of blue and gray down the middle, with rainbow hues at the planet’s poles.
The telescope uses a camera with three filters that can map infrared light, which is invisible to the human eye, into colors on the visible spectrum.
“To be honest, we didn’t really expect it to be this good,” said Imke de Pater, planetary astronomer and professor at UC-Berkeley. “It’s truly remarkable that we can see details of Jupiter with its rings, tiny satellites and even galaxies in a single image.”
The red in the photos shows auroras, while the yellows and greens show mists swirling around the poles. The white bands and patches show cloud cover, including the Great Red Spot, a massive storm that “could swallow Earth,” NASA said.
“The brightness here indicates high altitude – so the Great Red Spot has high altitude haze, as does the equatorial region,” said Heidi Hammel, vice president for science at the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy. . “The many bright white ‘spots’ and ‘streaks’ are likely very high altitude cloud tops of condensed convective thunderstorms.”
Likewise, the darkest areas are those with little cloud cover. Photos with a wider view show the planet’s rings and two moons, Amalthea and Adrastea.
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