The JWST is designed to peer way back into our past and help us understand the origins of our galaxies and the first stars. However, before embarking on these missions, scientists need to test the onboard equipment. To do so, they have been snapping up images of objects in our solar system and, in the process finding new information about them.
Auroras and hazes on Jupiter
On July 27, the JWST snapped Jupiter using its Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam), which has three specialized infrared filters. Since infrared light is not visible to the human eye, scientists had to slightly modify the images and map them to the visible spectrum.
The longest wavelengths were depicted towards the red end of the spectrum, while the shortest wavelengths were shown near blue. Several images were used to make a single image that captured various phenomena on the planet.
In the image, auroras can be seen at high altitudes near the planet’s northern and southern poles and have been mapped in red color. A different filter mapping color in yellow to green spectrum shows hazes swirling around the poles, while a third filter shows the light reflected from deeper clouds in blue color.
Interestingly, The Great Red Spot, a giant storm on the planet, appears white in these images. This is also the color that has been used to depict other clouds on the planet since they reflect a lot of sunlight, the blog post said.