The impressive images of the planets of the solar system taken by James Webb

Real color composite image of the solar system planets and their moons.

The James Webb Space Telescope is the most powerful of its kind. It allows you to observe a large number of objects and phenomena in the cosmos with great quality and sensitivity. It has a primary mirror coated in a thin layer of gold to maximally reflect infrared light. For more than a year it has helped rediscover the universe, but it also serves to better understand our solar system. Observing the planets and some of their moons.

Real color composite image of the solar system planets and their moons.

A privileged place

James Webb is located at the so-called Lagrange point 2, a place where the gravitational pull of the Sun and the Earth is balanced by the centripetal force, allowing a satellite to maintain constant communication and avoid light pollution from the planet or the Moon. In addition, to avoid the heat of the Sun on your delicate instruments

This is the main reason why you cannot capture images of Earth, Moon, Venus, Mercury and the Sun. Despite sacrificing part of the solar system objects, it still has the ability to observe Mars and the giant planets, asteroids, comets and almost the entire universe.

Jupiter: the largest of the giants

During commissioning, different objectives were compared to correctly understand the real capabilities of the telescope. One of these was the planet Jupiter, the largest and most massive in the solar system.

In the image it is possible to see not only Jupiter, but also its rings and some of its moons, including Europa, capable of reflecting a large amount of infrared light thanks to the ice on its surface.. In infrared the wonderful dynamics of its atmosphere are shown.

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Mars: the red planet

Due to its proximity to the Sun and Earth, Mars is one of the objects brightest in the sky that Webb can observe. Which posed some challenges, given that the observatory was designed to capture the faint light of distant stars and galaxies. If it were not for certain techniques, all the images obtained would be saturated and would have no scientific value.

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Neptune: the last planet in the solar system

Thanks to its remoteness, it receives very little heat from the Sun and in general it has little shine, making its observation quite complex. In the image obtained by James Webb, Neptune shows its rings and the curious dynamics of its atmosphere. However, Triton overshadows the planet, this is due to the ice's great ability to reflect almost all of the incident infrared light, even saturating the sensors.


Uranus: a frozen giant

The penultimate of the planets was Uranus, with its characteristic inclination with respect to the orbital plane, giving the appearance of being on its side. James Webb managed, as with Jupiter and Neptune, capture the rings and the separations between them. The planet's atmosphere features a pale blue color and a large white spot at the north pole. As well as two storms of smaller size, but great brightness.

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Saturn: the ringed planet

The last planet captured was one of the most anticipated. Saturn is recognized for its striking rings with an outer diameter similar to the separation between the Earth and the Moon. In the infrared shows its atmosphere with a dark tone, evidencing the poor capacity of the elements present there to reflect light. Furthermore, they do not follow the typical latitude division patterns characteristic of visible and ultraviolet images.

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Titan and Enceladus

Along with Saturn, James Webb studied two of its moons in detail. Titan is the only body outside of Earth where directly observed surface oceans, although in their case they are composed of hydrocarbons. On the other hand, Enceladus is the brightest object in the solar system, this thanks to a uniform and clear ice crust, capable of reflecting almost all the light it receives. There is strong evidence of a huge ocean of salt water inside.

Francisco Andrés Forero Daza