The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has become synonymous with stunning, full-color images of some of the most compelling cosmic landscapes in the universe. But, as new images of Saturn reveal, JWST’s unprocessed black-and-white images are stunning.
JWST captured the new images of the ringed planet between June 24 and 25 as part of a project led by NASA Lee Fletcher, astronomer at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom, to study the planet’s rings, moons, and atmospheric composition. Pictures recently appeared on the telescope unofficial Live broadcast. However, it doesn’t look like a golden-banded orb that you might imagine — at least, not yet.
Currently, the photos are stark — and somewhat bizarre — black and white. In some images, Saturn and its rings appear overly saturated with light. This is intentional. Black and white pixels actually represent a detailed count of a number photons Collected by JWST’s Near Infrared Camera. Later, the scientists will process and color the images into something instantly recognizable. For now, it remains a ghostly and rarely seen image of the planet’s icy rings.
Although JWST has been in operation for less than a year, it has already revolutionized our understanding of the universe and captured some of its most valuable objects – and Some of the most beautiful Scientific images ever produced. The telescope, which has three cameras, is designed to look in the infrared spectrum. This allows it to catch the light from The oldest stars in the universethanks to a phenomenon known as redshift.
As light travels, its wavelengths extend from the short end of the ultraviolet spectrum to the long end Infrared end. Because of this, light from the oldest (and most distant) stars in the universe can only be detected in the infrared spectrum by very powerful instruments. But, as the new Saturn images show, JWST can also take breathtaking photos close to home.
Saturn is not the first body in our solar system to obtain a JWST image. Earlier this year, the telescope also captured remarkable images of Uranus, revealing the giant planet Lesser known episodes In amazing detail. And last summer, JWST captured incredibly detailed images of Saturn’s neighbor, Jupiter.
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