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JUPITER: Never-Before-Seen!

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has revealed the planet Jupiter's atmosphere in detail never seen more. It tells us more about what living on this planet is like.

JWST is the most powerful telescope EVER launched into space in 2021.

It observes the universe in many wavelengths including infrared (light related to heat). JWST has delivered incredible images in greater detail than the Hubble Space telescope which observes in visible light (only light visible to humans). We have been able to learn more about astronomecial phenomena such as distant galaxies, start formation and planetary systems.

The image below tells us more about Jupiter's super turbulent atmosphere (gases surrounding the planet). The atmosphere is made of hydrogen and helium with windy and freezing clouds of ammonia and water vapour. The surface temperature of Jupiter is -110°C with no solid surface beneath the clouds!

We can see Aurora (red colourful 'plasma' - electrically charged gas) at the North and South Poles of the planet. The white bands and spots reveal the higher altitude clouds and winds. The central white band revealed the discovery of a superfast jet stream.

It is exciting that scientists are able to learn even more about our planets due to incredibly detailed images sent to us from JWST!

Jupiter seen by the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST)

The Hubble Telescope was launched in 1990 and observes in visible light. It keeps a tracks of Jupiter's stormy weather which includes cyclones, anticyclones, and the huge storm 'The Great Red Spot' which looks like a red eye. This storm is called 'Great' for a reason. It's size is 16,350km - that's a storm bigger than the size of Earth!

1.3 times to be exact!

Jupiter previously seen by the Hubble Space Telescope

Further reading:

1) NASA's comprehensive overview of the Gas Giant

2) How Scientists make their Space Images using Telescopes (including a podcast)


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