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Another Webb infrared image of Jupiter released

Jupiter as seen in the infrared by Webb
Click for original image.

The science team for the James Webb Space Telescope today released another infrared false-color image of Jupiter, this time processed for science instead of calibration of the telescope after launch.

That image is to the right, reduced to post here. From the caption:

Several exposures in three different filters were assembled to create this mosaic, after being corrected for the rotation of the planet. The combination of filters yields an image whose colors denote the height of the clouds and the intensity of auroral emissions.

The F360M filter (mapped to the red-orange colors) is sensitive to light reflected from the lower clouds and upper hazes. The red features in the polar regions are auroral emissions, caused by ions excited through collisions with charged particles at altitudes up to 1000 km above the cloud level. Auroral emission in red is evident in the northern and southern polar regions and reaches high above the limb of the planet. In the F212N filter (mapped to yellow-green colors), the gaseous methane in Jupiter’s atmosphere absorbs light; the greenish areas around the polar regions come from stratospheric hazes 100-200 km above the cloud level. The stratospheric haze that appears green in this composite is also concentrated in the polar regions, but extends down to equatorial latitudes and can also be seen along the limbs (edges) of the planet. The cyan channel holds the F150W2 filter, which is primarily sensitive to reflected light from the Jupiter’s deeper main cloud level at about one bar.

The Great Red Spot, the hazy equatorial region and myriad small storm systems appear white (or reddish-white) in this false-color image. Regions with little cloud cover appear as dark ribbons north of the equatorial region. Some dark regions — for example, those next to the Great Red Spot and in cyclonic features in the southern hemisphere — are also dark-colored when observed in visible wavelengths.

This image is part of the telescope’s early release science program.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

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  • t-dub

    Beautiful image. The quality of the Webb images is impressive. I think this one might make excellent wallpaper for my desktop.

  • Richard M

    The sharpness and detail are frankly at the level we’ve come to expect probes in close vicinity.

    I wonder what we can get out of JWST once we point it at the ice giants?

  • sippin_bourbon


    “How many are your works, Lord!” (Ps 104:24)

  • It looks very much like the Great Red Spot leaves eddies in it’s wake. Of course, these are planet-sized

  • GaryMike

    If climate models attempting to describe Earth are as good as they are claimed to be, they should also be pretty good for describing Jupiter’s atmospheric/climate behaviors.

    They’re really good for describing the same for the moon. No?

    If current Earth climate models are to be considered the Swiss army knives of climate explanations, they should also be able to do Jupiter and Mercury, too, no?

    Why would climate scientists not be able to describe Jupiter and Mercury with the same accuracy they claim to be able to explain Earth?

    Mercury’s atmosphere rubs against a rock surface. Jupiter’s atmosphere rubs against a liquid surface. Earth’s atmosphere rubs against both rocks and liquids.

    If you can explain the most complex system in detail, why can’t you explain the less complex systems?


  • wayne

    2010: The Year We Make Contact (1984)
    “I was David Bowman….”

  • Star Bird

    The Great Red Spot a massive Hurricane going on for Centuries now

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