What is the Significance of NASA's Release of Amazing Jupiter Images from Webb Telescope?
As NASA's Webb telescope, which is soon to be the most powerful ever created, continues to capture images of Jupiter, more information is revealed with every new photo. The Webb Telescope captures images as detailed as seeing a fingerprint on the planet's surface. Scientists are using these incredible photos to analyze what they have discovered about Jupiter and its moons. What was once believed to be just a big gas ball has now revealed itself as an intricate system of exciting things which we have yet to understand. Below we will take you through some of the amazing things we have discovered.
1. Water Plumes on Europa
Jupiter's fourth largest moon, Europa, is a fascinating place where water comes from tidal flexing. Just like what happens to the Earth's oceans when the moon passes by it. The problem with this theory is that scientists have never been able to find any evidence of water plumes on Europa. New images from NASA's Webb telescope have revealed two distinct plumes of water vapor spurting out of the surface of Jupiter's moon Europa. These images have caused scientists to believe that the once-thought-to-be frozen moon may be more hospitable than previously thought. A new theory has been proposed, suggesting that there may be some life on Europa due to water. This would mean no life could survive since all living beings need heat to survive.
2. Jupiter's Great Red Spot
One of the most remarkable things about the image captured by NASA's Webb telescope was that it revealed a massive storm in the atmosphere of Jupiter. The storm, which has been raging for over 350 years, is the largest on any planet in our solar system. Scientists have named this storm the Great Red Spot, which is believed to be caused by Jupiter's strong winds. This storm has existed for so long, but only now can we see it so clearly and observe its movements religiously.
3. Jupiter's Moon Io
One of the most exciting moons of Jupiter was captured by the Webb telescope. The moon, which looks like it has a bite taken out of it, is slowly being eaten away by Jupiter's gravitational force. This moon can take up to 100,000 years to orbit around Jupiter. It is one of the only bodies in the solar system known to be geologically active and has a volcanic activity similar to that of the Earth's moon Io.
4. Jupiter's Great Red Spot Measured
The biggest surprise about the photos is that anyone has been able to measure the size of Jupiter's great red spot for the first time. The long-running storm, which has raged since 1665, has been estimated and is approximately two Earths wide and three times as wide as our planet. This turbulent storm spins counterclockwise, moving at a speed of roughly 164 kilometers per hour.
5. Jupiter's Atmosphere
Another fascinating thing captured on NASA's Webb telescope is the first ever infrared picture of Jupiter's atmosphere. This image shows how the atmosphere emits many colors of light that are invisible to our human eyes. The colors are caused by different molecules, each producing a different color depending on its temperature. The first ever infrared filter was created in 1884, but it couldn't capture all the wavelengths of light at once. The new infrared filter can capture all wavelengths of light simultaneously and is the most sensitive ever created.
6. Jupiter's Atmosphere Contains Methane
Scientists have calculated that Jupiter's atmosphere is more significant than previously thought, almost twice as big. This was not discovered because of the presence of methane gas, which absorbs light. Only a tiny amount of light reaches the methane cloud, making it transparent to our eyes and telescopes. However, infrared images can penetrate the methane gas, allowing us to see more clearly that it is much bigger than anyone realized.
7. Jupiter's Moons Cause Gale Winds
Scientists know more about Jupiter's moons than they did ten years ago. A NASA researcher discovered that the two moons in Jupiter's orbit, Io and Europa, are responsible for creating extreme Earth winds. Although astronomers were already aware of the windy nature of Europa, Io was an unknown. The researchers believe that Io causes hot air flow from below the moon to the top, which causes an intense wind. This is similar to Earth, where air on the surface moves upwards, forming currents.