December 5, 2022

Webb telescope makes another discovery on faraway exoplanet

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The James Webb Space Telescope has captured a detailed molecular and chemical portrait of the sky of a distant planet. First to score the second goal For the exoplanet science community.

WASP-39b, otherwise known as Bocaprins, can be found orbiting a star about 700 light-years away. It is an exoplanet — a planet outside our solar system — as large as Saturn but much closer to its host star, with an estimated temperature of 1,600 degrees Fahrenheit (871 degrees Celsius) emitted by its gases, according to NASA. Is. This “hot Saturn” Expo was the first planet examined by the Webb Telescope. when he first began regular scientific work.

The new readings provide a complete breakdown of Bucaprin’s environment, including atoms, molecules, cloud formations (which look broken rather than a single, uniform blanket as scientists expected) and even the cause of its host star. Also traces of photochemistry from

“We observed exoplanets with multiple instruments that together provide a broad part of the infrared spectrum and chemical properties inaccessible to (this mission),” said astronomer Natalie Batalha of the University of California, Santa Cruz. provide a wide range of fingerprints.” Assisted in collaboration and coordination of new research, In a NASA release. “Data like this is a game changer.”

The new data provided the first sign in an exoplanet’s atmosphere of sulfur dioxide, a molecule produced by chemical reactions produced by the planet’s host star and its high-energy light. On Earth, the protective ozone layer of the atmosphere is similarly formed in photochemical reactions from heat and sunlight.

The close proximity of Bocaprinus to its host star makes it an ideal subject for studying such star-planet interactions. The planet is eight times closer to its host star than Mercury is to our Sun.

“This is the first time we’ve seen solid evidence of photochemistry — chemical reactions triggered by energetic stellar light — on exoplanets,” researcher Shang Min Tsai of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom said in a NASA release. “I see this as a really promising approach for advancing our understanding of exoplanet environments.”

Other compounds found in Bocaprins’ atmosphere include sodium, potassium and water vapor, confirming previous observations made by other space and ground-based telescopes, including the Hubble Space Telescope.

Having such a complete roster of chemical constituents in an exoplanet’s atmosphere provides insight into how this planet – and perhaps others – formed. Bokaprins’ diverse chemical inventory suggests that several smaller bodies, called planetesimals, merged to form the ultimate goliath of a planet, about the same size as the second largest planet in our solar system.

“This is the first of many exoplanets that JWST is going to study in detail. … We’re already getting very interesting results,” Nestor Espinoza, an astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute, told CNN. “This is just the beginning.”

These results are favorable to suggest the potential of Web instruments to conduct probes on exoplanets. According to NASA, by revealing detailed descriptions of exoplanet environments, the telescope has exceeded scientists’ expectations and promises a new phase of research into the wide variety of exoplanets in the galaxy.

“We’ll be able to see the big picture of exoplanet environments,” Laura Flagg, a Cornell University researcher and member of the international team analyzing the web data, said in a statement. “It’s incredibly exciting to know that everything will be rewritten. It’s one of the best parts of being a scientist.”

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