Saturn is one of the iconic planets of our Solar System, and perhaps everybody knows why. If you’ve been thinking about the gas giant’s rings, you’ve made it! Saturn has some huge rings of rock, ice, and dust that revolve around it.
You can prepare to be amazed as the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) provides a tantalizing glimpse of Saturn in all its glory. Although the official processed images are still forthcoming, raw images captured by the telescope’s Near Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec) have been shared on the unofficial JWST Feed website, giving us a sneak peek of what’s to come.
This is Saturn as viewed by the James Webb Space Telescope in short near-infrared wavelengths.
The image was filtered to dim the planet's glow, and bring out the shine of its glorious rings.
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Saturn is located at an average distance of roughly 1.4 billion kilometers (870 million miles) awway from Earth. However, the distance between Saturn and our planet can vary significantly due to the elliptical nature of their orbits around the Sun. At its closest approach, known as opposition, Saturn can be about 1.2 billion kilometers (746 million miles) away, while at its farthest point, known as a conjunction, it can be approximately 1.7 billion kilometers (1.06 billion miles) away. These distances are rough estimates and can change as both our planet and Saturn continue their orbital paths around the Sun.
Among the new images, Saturn appears almost black, contrasting with its shimmering rings. The chosen filters accentuate specific wavelengths, highlighting the rings against the backdrop of space. These images contain noise, but the final polished versions will undoubtedly showcase the true magnificence of the gas giant.
The new observations were led by a team from the University of Leicester, and they aim to deepen the human understanding of Saturn’s moons and rings, while also potentially uncovering new discoveries.
More data and images are yet to come, thanks to the remarkable capabilities of the JWST, so stay tuned!
Tommy’s hobby has always been playing video games. He enjoys competing in video games tournaments and writing about his experience. It’s not a big surprise that he mostly covers the latest trends from the gaming industry.