An infrared image of Neptune captured by the James Webb Space Telescope rocked astronomy buffs on Wednesday after it was revealed by NASA. This infrared process is revolutionary to say the least, and it raises questions about how astrophysicists can detect or image the unknown parts of our galaxy.
This technology, which surpasses that of the Hubble Space Telescope, which was already a revolution for NASA when it was launched in 1990. According to Montreal Planetarium Director and astrophysicist Olivier Hernandez, the James Webb Telescope is innovative in its mechanism. “The James Webb Telescope has many instruments and many of them can go very far. This actually allows us to study planets, comets, asteroids as well as the dust surrounding these planetary disks much better,” explains Hernandez in an interview with Should.
Thanks to James Webb and his instrument NIRCam, NASA captured the clearest image of the planet Neptune, the farthest in the solar system, on Wednesday. The most experienced telescopes and astronomers have not painted such a clear picture of the frozen planet since 1989, the only short pass of the Voyager 2 probe near Neptune.
The special advantage of the James Webb Space Telescope also comes from the fact that “it is already outside the Earth’s atmosphere and in this sense it obtains more accurate images because we do not need to correct for the movements of the atmosphere that are in reality due to differences in temperature”, adds Olivier Hernandez.
By placing it in Earth’s atmosphere, the telescope would be distorted by light pollution. It will not be able to pass through the materials surrounding the atmosphere of space such as water and some other elements. Hubble captures only ultraviolet and visible spectra with the naked eye, while James Webb’s infrared technology travels from near to far, bypassing elements not visible to the naked eye.
The future of space photography
In addition to Neptune’s never-before-seen gas rings, viewers can enjoy viewing the seven (Galatea, Naiad, Thalassa, Despina, Proteus, Larissa, and Triton) moons of the fourteen moons that surround the icy planet. Moreover, Triton whose brilliance resembles a small star. Larger than the dwarf planet Pluto, it also appears brighter than Neptune due to sunlight reflecting off its icy surface. He said the image also showed a “strange light” at one of Neptune’s poles NASA in a press release.
As for the future of space photography, Mr. Hernandez says: “The beauty of this thing is that we probably don’t yet know which project will revolutionize astronomy.”
“We are convinced that within 10 years we will discover new levels of astronomy or in any case new ways of seeing our universe that may be very different from what we know now,” the astrophysicist admits.
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