The whole scientific world is in awe after NASA’s next-generation James Webb Space Telescope revealed the first full-color images of the Universe yesterday, July 12. But it seems that the Carina Nebula, the SMACS 0723 cluster, the Southern Ring Nebula, Stephan’s Quintet, and WASP-96b aren’t the only photos that James Webb presents.
NASA’s next-generation telescope has also captured some amazing photos of our own “backyard,” not only from the distant Universe. Therefore, Jupiter and a few of its numerous moons can be seen in new JWST images, along with the gas giant’s rings. The rings of Jupiter are not made of ice but only dust.
— Erin M. May, PhD (@_astronomay) July 12, 2022
Europa, Metis, and Thebe are three of Jupiter’s moons. In total, the biggest planet in our Solar System has 79 discovered moons. While Ganymede is the biggest moon of Jupiter, Europa is the smallest of the four Galilean natural satellites that are orbiting the gas giant. We can also keep in mind that Europa is the sixth largest moon in our Solar System.
Metis is the innermost natural satellite of Jupiter, and it has a radius of only about 21 km. As for Thebe, it’s also a small moon, as it has a radius that measures only 49 km.
The commissioning report says:
Observing a bright planet and its satellites and rings was expected to be challenging, due to scattered light that may affect the science instrument employed, but also the fine guidance sensor must track guide stars near the bright planet,
These observations verified the expectation that guide star acquisition works successfully as long as Jupiter is at least 140″ away from the FGS, consistent with pre-flight modeling.
The authors of the report also boast about JWST being capable of achieving all the discoveries it aims at. And who are we to contradict them?