Astronomers see CO2 on exoplanet for first time – Harvard Gazette


WASP-39 b was already on scientists’ radar. In 2018 NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope revealed hints of carbon dioxide in its environment. Previous observations from different telescopes had revealed water vapor, sodium, and potassium.

Thus the exoplanet was the best candidate for a follow-up utilizing the brand new and improved JWST, stated López-Morales.

Another issue: WASP-39 b is a transiting planet. During a transit, among the starlight is eclipsed by the planet utterly, inflicting total dimming, and a few is transmitted by means of the environment. The environment filters out some colours greater than others relying on what it’s fabricated from, how thick it’s, and whether or not there are clouds. Because totally different gases take in totally different mixtures of colours, researchers can analyze small variations in brightness of the transmitted mild throughout a spectrum of wavelengths to find out the precise make-up of an environment.

In this case, the ensuing spectrum scientists obtained was vital: the primary clear, detailed, indeniable proof for carbon dioxide ever detected in a planet exterior our photo voltaic system.

“The remarkably strong signal is a testament to [JWST’s] exquisite precision and revolutionary wavelength range, and demonstrates how much we stand to learn from this awesome observatory,” Kirk stated.

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