Home Science James Webb finds CO2 in the atmosphere of an exoplanet

James Webb finds CO2 in the atmosphere of an exoplanet

by Joseph Richard
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Since the James Webb Telescope discovered carbon dioxide in its atmosphere, it has been the focus of study, and NASA formally released the information on August 25 of last year.

Simply put, this chemical molecule has never before been detected in this specific fashion outside of our solar system. Even in 2008, when James Webb’s predecessor, the Hubble Telescope, made a comparable finding in the atmosphere of an exoplanet designated HD 189733b, this had not been definitively validated until that point.

The exoplanet WASP-39b was discovered in 2011, and the Hubble and Spitzer telescopes found water molecules in its atmosphere in 2018. This exoplanet has a surface temperature of around 900 degrees Celsius, and its atmosphere would contain almost three times as much water as Saturn’s. Even though WASP-39b is approximately 1.3 times the size of Jupiter, it only has a fourth of its mass.

The scientific publication Nature will publish James Webb’s findings of the exoplanet WASP-39b on August 29, 2022. One of the pieces of equipment on board the telescope, the near-infrared spectrograph, might be used to find CO2.

The telescope’s sensitivity allowed for a thorough investigation of the atmosphere and the identification of light fluctuations that indicated the existence of molecules like carbon dioxide. On this exoplanet, there isn’t much to suggest a tranquil existence, however.

 The high levels of carbon dioxide are not necessarily suitable for forming a climate that supports life because of the high average temperature. In any event, James Webb has made a fantastic discovery by allowing this.

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