July 15, 2024

Saturn: The James Webb Space Telescope illuminates the planets

Saturn: The James Webb Space Telescope illuminates the planets

NASA has released images of Saturn’s ring taken by the James Webb Space Telescope and Near Infrared Camera.

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has provided stunning images of Saturn. Using the Webb NIRCam (Near Infrared Camera), NASA researchers made the first near-infrared observations of the ringed planet on Sunday (June 25), according to a NASA blog.

The telescope is the largest and most powerful telescope ever launched into space.

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Saturn is dark with bright rings

At this infrared wavelength observed by the telescope, Saturn itself appears very faint, a NASA blog reads. The reason for this is that methane gas absorbs almost all of the sunlight falling on the atmosphere.

However, the rings, which consist mainly of rock and ice fragments, remained relatively bright because they did not contain any methane. This resulted in a stunning appearance of the planet on the space telescope.

In addition, the scientists also tested whether a near infrared camera could record fainter moons around the planet and found that this is also possible. Among others, the moons Dione, Enceladus and Tethys became visible. The ringed planet has more than 140 known moons.

According to NASA, scientists were also able to see clear details in the ring system. Furthermore, deeper images of some of the planet’s fainter rings should help examine them more closely.

James Webb Space Telescope

The James Webb Telescope has been in space since December 25, 2021. It is supposed to provide information about the origin of the universe. A telescope can see through dust and gas in space.

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However, the special thing about the space telescope is that it has the ability to capture infrared light. This is not visible to the human eye. Using this method, researchers can measure the light that was created in space billions of years ago.

The telescope is a joint project of NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).

However, NASA points out that the data associated with the images has not yet undergone a “peer review process” (an examination by independent researchers).