We’re expecting the James Webb team to drop its processed images of Saturn anytime now. In the meantime, though, an unofficial feed of raw images from the telescope has given us our first look at the Near Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec) images captured of the ringed planet, and they’re absolutely mind-blowing.
The raw images are all available on the unofficial JSWT Feed website, and while they aren’t as colorful as the final processed images that we expect the official team to drop, there are a few really great pieces you need to see for yourself in the raw photo dump.
Of course, let’s set some expectations before we really start digging into them. Because these haven’t been cleaned up, there is a lot of noise. And, of course, there’s not really any coloring or anything to them. In fact, many of them are just white glowing blobs with pieces sticking out of them, like a flashlight as it reflects off something shiny. However, there are a few really great images of Saturn that stand out.
One of the most striking images of Saturn captured by Webb this time around is of the planet’s ring, glowing in a sea of darkness. You can barely make out the outline of the planet within the ring, but the ring glows exceptionally bright compared to everything else. This is most likely because Saturn’s rings and the planet itself glow at different wavelengths.
This first image is taken with a longer wavelength of infrared and near-infrared. However, another set of images features the planet as it is seen through shorter wavelengths. This allows us to see the cloud bands that can be found on Saturn. Both sets of images are absolutely striking and will no doubt lead to mind-blowing final products.
For the time being, though, these raw images taken of Saturn by James Webb are still just as hard to believe as Webb’s first images were.