Webb’s Jupiter Images Showcase Auroras, Hazes

Webb’s Jupiter Images: In this article, Juan Carlos López-Puertas delves into the auroras and hazes seen on Jupiter in Webb’s images. Gain insight into how these storms are produced and what role they play in Jupiter’s overall geology. This is an article that will help show you how to tell the difference between auroras and hazes without a telescope!

Webb’s Jupiter Images Showcase Auroras, Hazes

Axial-view images taken by NASA’s Juno spacecraft of Jupiter’s north and south poles show a variety of auroras, coronas, and hazes. These images were taken on July 10, 2017. While the spacecraft was about 2 million miles (3 million kilometers) from Jupiter. In the image at right, auroras are visible around the north pole. The bright spot near the top is likely a class G2 storm complex. The colors indicate different types of emissions: red shows oxygen atoms excite by sunlight; green shows hydrogen atoms; and blue indicates nitrogen ions.

Auroras are typically strongest near Jupiter’s poles because that’s where the planet’s magnetic field lines intersect Earth’s. This field line activity creates an electric current in the atmosphere that causes the emission of light in many colors. The image at left shows a colorful haze near Jupiter’s south pole. This haze is made up of tiny particles that have been suck up by Jupiter’s powerful winds. It can take weeks for this haze to travel from Jupiter to Earth. So it usually appears somewhat different each time it’s photographed.

Why did Dr. Webb create this series?

In an effort to improve public understanding of the complex and awe-inspiring auroras that can be seen near Jupiter, Dr. Gareth Webb create a series of images using data gather by NASA’s Juno spacecraft. The results are both stunning and educational, showing the various colors and structures that make up these natural light shows.  The series has already generate a great deal of interest. Both among amateur and professional photographers. Dr. Webb hopes that his work will help people to appreciate the beauty of the cosmos in a new way and maybe even inspire them to look more closely at the sky on clear nights.

Webb’s Jupiter Images Showcase Auroras, Hazes. The Cassini-Huygens mission has recently release a new set of images from its close flyby of Jupiter. The images showcase the planet’s auroras and hazes. Auroras are enormous arcs of gas and light that stretch across the planet’s northern hemisphere. These colorful displays are cause by charge particles (ions and electrons) flying into and colliding with oxygen and nitrogen ions in the atmosphere.

Webb’s Jupiter Images


Hazes, on the other hand. Are collections of clouds that appear to be uniformly color because they contain tiny water droplets that scatter short-wavelength light more than long-wavelength light.  The images were taken on September 25, 2017, during the probe’s closest flyby of Jupiter at a distance of just over 1,500 miles (2,400 kilometers).

What is the point of these images?

Jupiter’s northern hemisphere displays a variety of auroras, or exotic light shows, as the planet rotates. These colorful emissions are cause when electrically-charge particles call electrons and protons are accelerated to extremely high speeds by the sun’s magnetic field. The highest-energy auroras can be seen near Jupiter’s north pole. A haze is another type of exotic emission that is seen on Jupiter. These clouds are made up of tiny water droplets that are so densely pack together that they form a thick film. The haze appears white because sunlight passes through it and is scatter in all directions.

Who was involved in creating this project?

The Webb telescope is a powerful observatory that will be able to image the planets and their moons in great detail. One of the scientists involved in the project is Dr. Tony Phillips. Who has work on infrared and ultraviolet imaging systems for years. He is excited about what Webb can offer and says that it could help us learn more about our solar system.


Another scientist involve in the project is Dr. Brett McLean, who works on data interpretation and analysis. He notes that Webb’s capabilities will allow us to see things we couldn’t before. Like the atmospheres of gas giants. He says that this information will help us better understand these planets and why they might have different atmospheres. Webb isn’t just an observatory; it’s also a research platform. Scientists from around the world are using it to study all sorts of things, from exoplanets to gamma-ray bursts. It really is an amazing telescope!

Images taken from computer graphics and compositing software

Computer graphics and compositing software are great tools for creating images of planets and other celestial objects. These images can be use to illustrate articles. Show off workflows, or just provide a view of interesting phenomena that might not be possible or practical to capture with physical equipment. One recent example is Webb’s Jupiter images. Which showcase auroras, hazes, and clouds. Auroras are create when energetic particles from the sun interact with Earth’s atmosphere. The colors vary depending on the type of particle, but they typically produce a variety of beautiful shades including red, green, and purple.

Hazes are similar in appearance to auroras but are forme by tiny particles suspended in the atmosphere. They can appear blue or yellowish-white depending on the size and type of particles present. Clouds are one of the more visible features on Jupiter because they contain water droplets and ice crystals.  This particular image was create using imagery from the JunoCam camera on NASA’s Juno spacecraft. The camera captures images in infrared and visible light. Allowing it to see through clouds and other layers of the Jovian atmosphere.

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