In addition to stunning shots of the Carina Nebula and Stefan’s Quintet, the James Webb Space Telescope has also taken pictures of other corners of the universe. Additional photos have been “hidden” in the report describing the current status of the device.
The document summarizes all the observation techniques used by the James Webb Space Telescope and the results of tests carried out before the equipment was put into operation. One of them concerned the precision of tracking moving astronomical objects in the solar system.
Jupiter in two shots
The test group consisted of nine objects of different mass and speed. In addition to eight asteroids and asteroids, scientists also decided to observe Jupiter. The largest planet in the solar system and its satellites move relatively slowly, making them a control group for many times faster, smaller objects.
During the test, the James Webb Space Telescope took pictures of Jupiter using two filters. The one on the left was done in a setting that favored short wavelengths of light, while that on the right was done in a long wavelength setting. Both photos show the planet and its pale rings, as well as Jupiter’s satellites – Thebes, Metis and Europa. One of the shots also shows the famous Red Spot, a huge permanent anticyclone that has been blowing on Jupiter for at least 358 years.
Another challenge is behind us
As the scientists point out, it was expected from the beginning that observing a bright planet, its satellites and rings would be quite a challenge. The scattered light it reflects affects the sensitivity of the measuring instrument, and the brightness of the planet can confuse the guidance sensor. The photos clearly show that the James Webb Space Telescope coped with this task perfectly.
In addition to the object tracking test, the device performed many other practice tests. They concerned, among others, optical stability, correction of small optical illusions and accuracy in capturing individual objects. Scientists are pleased to note that the performance of the James Webb Space Telescope far exceeds the already high expectations that have been attached to it by researchers and astronomy enthusiasts around the world.
“Powered by revolutionary capabilities, the James Webb Space Telescope has just kicked off the first of many years filled with discoveries,” the report said.
Main photo source: NASA / ESA / CSA