In addition to photographing galaxies, nebulae and other cosmic structures, the James Webb Space Telescope has also photographed many planets several times since its launch. From those in our solar system to exoplanets in other nearby formations. The truth is Whenever these images come out last, some users tend to protest their quality..

Although the expert eye is not much to blame for the images of exoplanets taken by James Webb, the complaint of those who do not know how a space telescope works is understandable. After all, if you can photograph the beginning of the universe, why is it so difficult for you to picture the planets inside or outside our solar system?

No, it’s not that James Webb is malfunctioning or that NASA is up to a ruse to make us believe a lie. The reason lies in the physics of these celestial bodies and their ability to emit well as the cameras the space telescope uses to capture stunning images.

Why does James Webb take such fuzzy photos of exoplanets?

Let’s start with this question. Surely you have already seen the first photograph of an exoplanet taken by James Webb. While you may have had the illusion that you are seeing the new alien world in great detail, you will encounter a pixelated dot of light in which nothing can be distinguished from nothing. What’s happened? Is the telescope damaged? No, it actually has more to do with the planet than with the power of our favorite space telescope.

The reason for this lies in the nature of this type of celestial bodies. The planets – both in our solar system and in any other – do not emit their own light. Instead, they reflect what is emitted by the star they orbit; for the same reason we can see the moon in the night sky.

This already scattered light has to deal with wear and tear as it travels cosmic distances. when photons reach our planet, a lot of information is already lost. Something like trying to photograph the reflection of light from a rock on the coast of Gibraltar while in Algeciras.

And why do photographs of galaxies millions of light-years away look so good?

It may seem counterintuitive that if I don’t see an exoplanet located in my own galaxy, How is it possible that I can see such shocking images of others every day? Since its launch, James Webb has blessed us with all sorts of images, from huge galactic structures of dust and gas to very interesting cosmic mergers.

The same thing happens with galaxies. These structures are exaggeratedly larger than a planet and also emit an awful amount of light. In fact, what is usually seen in greater detail in James Webb’s photographs are bright dots that turn out to be stars. they emit their own light that can travel cosmic distances without losing that much intensity. Upon reaching the Earth, these formations can be examined in more detail, because not much information was lost along the way.

But galaxies aren’t just made up of stars. We also find gases and dust accumulations at very high temperatures. They emit high levels of radiation. Thus, with James Webb’s infrared cameras, this emitted radiation can be seen in more detail, also illuminating the entire composition.

Returning to the same example of Algeciras and Gibraltar. Although you cannot see the reflection of a particular stone, at nightfall you can see all the lights of the city in breathtaking detail. With higher points, piers, bridges and more. In fact, you can take a beautiful photo and it will look no problem.

And why do James Webb’s pictures of the planets in our solar system look so strange?

It has already become clear that cosmic distances and the emission of certain types of light can play against space research, but, Why do pictures of planets in our solar system look so weird? Shouldn’t James Webb take more impressive pictures of these planets?

Despite being built of gold and costing $10 billion, James Webb also has his limitations.such as the inability to see color. Another thing is that it was not created for observation in visible light, as Hubble does. This leaves you with only one option: to study your surroundings by capturing infrared light. Thus, James Webb sees differently than conventional cameras do, but switches to a different frequency. The captured images are in infrared light, so they reveal information that might seem hidden at first glance.

This is why images of planets such as Mars, Neptune, Jupiter or Uranus look so strange. Yes, sure they are impressive and offer a huge amount of new details for researchers, at first glance, they are not as convincing as the pictures of Europa taken by the Juno probe; and even an ancient photograph of Neptune taken by Voyagers 1 and 2.

Remember that Juno and Voyager are probes. They are responsible for flights in the vicinity of planets, satellites and other celestial bodies. for your research. In doing so, they take amazing pictures that will help us better understand our closest neighbors. Meanwhile, James Webb is tied to Lagrange L2, a point in Earth’s orbit that leaves it hundreds of millions of kilometers behind probes when it comes to photographing other planets.

Source: Hiper Textual

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