The new James Webb Space Telescope has been hailed in recent days for its razor-sharp images from the far reaches of the observable universe. But the telescope can also zoom in on objects in our cosmic backyard. The US space agency NASA has released photos of Jupiter, which has mainly used the telescope to test its instruments.
At first glance, this is a somewhat faded photo of the gas giant, especially compared to the images we are used to, for example, the Juno probe. But NASA is excited: Infrared images not only show the planet but also several moons and Jupiter’s thin rings bright and crisp.
“I can’t believe everything can be seen so clearly and so brightly,” said Stefanie Milam, one of NASA’s planetary scientists. According to Bryan Holler, a colleague at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, the photos show just how versatile the James Webb is. “It shows the full range of what Webb can observe, from the most distant galaxies to planets you can see for yourself with the naked eye.”
After months of testing and calibration, the first “real” photos of the all-new telescope were released on Tuesday. present. Comparisons with the space telescope’s predecessor, Hubble, are now being posted on more and more sites.
The first image released by NASA shows a patch of space dotted with colored dots. In BV News on NPO Radio 1, astronomy professor Vincent Icke explained what can actually be seen there. “If you look a little closer, you can see that every speck is a galaxy, where every speck is the size of our Milky Way, in the depths of the universe, 13 billion years ago, 800 000 years after the Big Bang in space is looking back in time.”
In the near future, Webb will direct his huge mirror to many other cosmic objects. Scientists can submit requests to this effect. Next summer the telescope will be on two exoplanets be targeted. They are planets that revolve around a star other than the sun.
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