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Monday, December 11, 2023

Jupiter in the lens of the Hubble Telescope. King among planets in ultraviolet

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The Hubble Space Telescope took a unique photo of Jupiter. The gas giant was “immortalized” in ultraviolet light, allowing scientists to take a closer look at the clouds covering the planet. The observations can be used to create a three-dimensional cloud map.

The Hubble Space Telescope continues to provide us with valuable and spectacular images of space. This time he turned to Jupiter to look at the largest planet in the solar system in ultraviolet light. Since the human eye cannot detect ultraviolet light, NASA “translated” the image into colors from the visible light range in such a way as to preserve the original meaning of the data.

The Great Blue Spot

The Great Red Spot attracts attention – it’s gigantic storm on Jupiter, which appears red to the human eye. In the ultraviolet image it looks much darker than the surroundings. As scientists explained, this is due to fog particles present high in the atmosphere, concentrated in the region of the element, which absorb light of these wavelengths. On the other hand, clouds over the planet’s poles are less visible – researchers believe this is due to differences in particle size, composition or height.

Jupiter in ultraviolet light through the lens of the Hubble Space TelescopeNASA/ESA/M. Wong (University of California Berkeley)/Gladys Kober (NASA/Catholic University of America)

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The data used to create the image is part of a project to observe storm systems on Jupiter. Using the Hubble Telescope, scientists want to track clouds located deep in the planet’s atmosphere and, as a result, create a three-dimensional model of the processes taking place there.

As researchers explained, ultraviolet light can reveal many intriguing cosmic phenomena, including light from the hottest and youngest stars. Thanks to them, we can learn the composition, density and temperature of interstellar material and trace its evolution galaxies.

Main photo source: NASA/ESA/M. Wong (University of California Berkeley)/Gladys Kober (NASA/Catholic University of America)

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