One of the advantages of technology is that it brings us closer to distant worlds. We can almost see them as we were there. And these images reveal unknown secrets to us. This is the case with the full-color images of Jupiter that NASA brings us. A fantastic show.
Playing with wavelengths
This was done with the wide field camera 3 on the Hubble space telescope. Another infrared image is from the Gemini North Telescope in Hawaii. There are three portraits of the gas giant. They underline the advantage of multi-wavelength astronomy for observing planets. This happens at different wavelengths of light. And it gives us information that is hidden until this moment.
There are some surprises. Among them the Great Red Spot of the Planet (its famous permanent storm system). It appears in ultraviolet images but is almost invisible at infrared wavelengths. Another thing is the cloud bands in the opposite direction to the axis of rotation of Jupiter. They are clearly visible in all three types of light.
The region known as the Junior Red Spot appears when observed with both visible and ultraviolet light. When it was first molded it was white. But after a few years it turned red. Since then the color has changed back to white. It is also possible to distinguish a superstorm in visible light. It looks like a white line that extends to the right side of Jupiter’s disk.
Works of art
This gives us the opportunity to get important information about the planet’s atmosphere. We observe each of the cloud and particle layers at a different wavelength. The colored images of Jupiter are a beautiful and enlightening tour.
Technology, yes, it can isolate us sometimes, but it also connects us to the universe. And we can marvel at these works of art from the universe.