NASA's James Webb Space Telescope

ERS Program 1373

ERS Observations of the Jovian System as a Demonstration of JWST’s Capabilities for Solar System Science

PI: Imke de Pater (University of California - Berkeley)
Co-PI: Thierry Fouchet (Observatoire de Paris)

Science Category Solar System icon
Keywords Chemical Composition, Giant Planets, Planetary Atmospheres, Planetary Satellites, Space Weather
Investigators Dominique Bockelee-Morvan (Observatoire de Paris)
Al Conrad (Large Binocular Telescope Observatory)
Leigh Fletcher (University of Leicester)
Patrick M. Fry (University of Wisconsin - Madison)
Alistair Glasse (United Kingdom Astronomy Technology Centre)
Ricardo Hueso (Universidad del Pais Vasco)
Katherine de Kleer (California Institute of Technology)
Emmanuel Lellouch (Observatoire de Paris - Section de Meudon)
Henrik Melin (University of Leicester)
Glenn S. Orton (Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
Mark R. Showalter (SETI Institute)
Anand Sivaramakrishnan (Space Telescope Science Institute)
Michael H. Wong (University of California - Berkeley)

We have brought together a large and diverse community in the US and Europe to observe the jovian system, with the following scientific goals:

  • Characterize Jupiter’s cloud layers, winds, composition, auroral activity, and temperature structure; 
  • Produce maps of the atmosphere and surface of volcanically-active Io and icy satellite Ganymede to constrain their thermal and atmospheric structure, and search for plumes; and
  • Characterize the ring structure, and its sources, sinks and evolution.

Our program will thus demonstrate the capabilities of JWST’s instruments on one of the largest and brightest sources in the Solar System and on very faint targets next to it. We will also observe weak emission/absorption bands on strong continua, and with NIRIS/AMI we will maximize the Strehl ratio on unresolved features, such as Io’s volcanoes.

Instrument and Mode MIRI: Medium Resolution Spectroscopy
NIRCam: Imaging
NIRISS: Aperture Masking Interferometry
NIRSpec: IFU Spectroscopy
What does the program enable for the user community?

We will deliver a number of science enabling products that will facilitate community science, including:

  • Characterizing Jupiter’s scattered light in the context of scientific observations;
  • Resolve point sources with AMI in a crowded field (Io’s volcanoes), and compare this to classical observations; and
  • Develop tools to mosaic/visualize spectral datacubes using MIRI and NIRSpec on Jupiter.

Finally, our program will also set a first temporal benchmark to study time variations in the jovian system and any interconnectivity (e.g., through its magnetic field) during JWST’s lifetime.

How will you engage the user community?  
Team website URL