The recently launched Webb telescope which observes in the infrared wavelength (meaning heat) took awesome photos of Jupiter. These photos are a reminder of our own beautiful planet Earth.
The Space Telescope Science Institute has released data from the James Webb Space Telescope’s commissioning period, including images of Jupiter and images and spectra of several asteroids. The data demonstrates Webb’s ability to track solar system targets and produce images and spectra with unprecedented detail.
The James Webb Space Telescope background
The James Webb Space Telescope is the world’s largest, most powerful and complex space telescope. It will observe the most distant objects in the universe, provide images of the first galaxies formed and study planets around distant stars. It is a joint project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency.
The telescope launched on an Ariane 5 rocket from Kourou, French Guiana, in 2021. After launching, the telescope deployed its tennis-court sized sunshield and unfolded its 21-foot-wide (6.5-meter-wide) primary mirror.
Lagrange point L2 position
Webb will operate about a million miles from Earth at the second Lagrange point, L2. The James Webb Space Telescope is the scientific successor to NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. It will be the premier observatory of the next decade, serving thousands of astronomers worldwide. It will study every phase in the history of our universe, ranging from the first luminous glows after the Big Bang, to the formation of planetary systems capable of supporting life on planets like Earth, to the evolution of our own Solar System.
Multi-spectral images of Jupiter and Europa
More recently, the James Webb Space Telescope has captured images of Jupiter and several of its moons, several asteroids, demonstrating its ability to track solar system targets and produce images and spectra with unprecedented detail. This data will be used to explore the possibility of plumes of material spewing out of moons like Europa and Saturn’s moon Enceladus.
The Webb Space Telescope is protected by its sunshield and unitized pallet structures that will fold up around the telescope for launch.
Anna Lauer is a writer, gardener, and homesteader living in rural Wisconsin. She has written for Mother Earth News, Grit, and Hobby Farms magazines. Anna is writing a new book about growing your food for free and an ultimate guide to producing food at little to no cost. When she’s not writing or gardening, Anna enjoys spending time with her husband and two young daughters.