Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2022 August 30
The featured image shows Jupiter in infrared light as captured
by the James Webb Space Telescope. Visible in unusually dark colors
are Jupiter's clouds including the Great Red Spot, a ring, 
several moons, and bright aurora.
Please see the explanation for more detailed information.

Jupiter from the Webb Space Telescope
Image Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, Jupiter ERS Team; Processing: Ricardo Hueso (UPV/EHU) & Judy Schmidt

Explanation: This new view of Jupiter is illuminating. High-resolution infrared images of Jupiter from the new James Webb Space Telescope (Webb) reveal, for example, previously unknown differences between high-floating bright clouds -- including the Great Red Spot -- and low-lying dark clouds. Also clearly visible in the featured Webb image are Jupiter's dust ring, bright auroras at the poles, and Jupiter's moons Amalthea and Adrastea. Large volcanic moon Io's magnetic funneling of charged particles onto Jupiter is also visible in the southern aurora. Some objects are so bright that light noticeably diffracts around Webb's optics creating streaks. Webb, which orbits the Sun near the Earth, has a mirror over six meters across making it the largest astronomical telescope ever launched -- with over six times more light-collecting area than Hubble.

Tomorrow's picture: unusual mars

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