NASA has released its latest two images of Jupiter from the James Webb Telescope, offering unprecedented new views of the solar system’s largest planet.
The July photos were presented along with new information regarding observations of tremendous interest to the scientific community.
“We hadn’t really expected it to be this good, to be honest,” said planetary astronomer Imke de Pater, professor emerita of the University of California, Berkeley, in a blog released by NASA with the images.
“It’s really remarkable that we can see details on Jupiter together with its rings, tiny satellites, and even galaxies in one image,” she said.
NASA’s Webb Telescope Twitter account noted that the “New Webb images of Jupiter highlight the planet’s features, including its turbulent Great Red Spot (shown in white here), in amazing detail.”
A second image showed the planet’s dark ring system and two of its moons in stunning detail.
Check out the bright waves, swirls, and vortices in Jupiter’s atmosphere — as well as the dark ring system, one million times fainter than the planet! Two moons of Jupiter, including one that’s only about 12 miles (20 km) across, are on the left. pic.twitter.com/o7XYOMdsq5
— NASA Webb Telescope (@NASAWebb) August 22, 2022
The images are part of a growing collection of discoveries that have occurred since the Webb Telescope began operating earlier this summer.
This red dot is the oldest galaxy we’ve ever seen!
The latest data from the James Webb Space Telescope has helped astronomers find the galaxy, which dates back to just 300 million years after the big bang https://t.co/ujVstyRBES pic.twitter.com/p404hoSjFC
— New Scientist (@newscientist) July 20, 2022
The newly-discovered galaxy has been named GLASS-z13. It is estimated as arising just 300 million years after the Big Bang.
“JWST has potentially smashed records, spotting a galaxy which existed when the universe was a mere 300 million years old!” former NASA scientist James O’Donoghue tweeted. “The light from GLASS-z13 took 13.4 billion years to hit us, but the distance between us is now 33 billion light years due to the expansion of the universe!”
The Webb Telescope launched at the end of 2021 and became operational about six months later. Its first images were revealed on July 12, with one image shared from the White House on July 11.
👀 Sneak a peek at the deepest & sharpest infrared image of the early universe ever taken — all in a day’s work for the Webb telescope. (Literally, capturing it took less than a day!) This is Webb’s first image released as we begin to #UnfoldTheUniverse: https://t.co/tlougFWg8B pic.twitter.com/Y7ebmQwT7j
— NASA Webb Telescope (@NASAWebb) July 11, 2022
“The James Webb Space Telescope will give us a fresh and powerful set of eyes to examine our universe,” Eric Smith, Webb program scientist and NASA Astrophysics Division chief scientist, said when the first images were revealed. “The world is about to be new again.”
The telescope is expected to provide data for at least five years, with a goal of 10 years. Its location is one million miles from Earth (1.5 million kilometers), according to the telescope’s website.
At just 21.7 feet wide (6.6 meters), the relatively small device is making a giant impact through each image it communicates to Earth, offering glimpses of the universe previously never seen.
Webb is an international collaboration between NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center manages the Webb project and leads its overall engineering.
Thousands of scientists, engineers, and technicians from 14 countries, 29 U.S. states, and Washington, D.C., contributed to building, testing, and integrating Webb, according to its website. Scientists from 41 countries, 42 U.S. states, and Washington, D.C., have been awarded observing time during Webb’s first year of science operations.