To the excitement of many, the James Webb Telescope did it again:
For the first time, carbon dioxide has been detected in the atmosphere of a planet outside our solar system.
– This was an unprecedented experience. something to be proud of, Natalie Batalha says at the University of California. She led the project, which consists of 300 researchers from all over the world.
The planet is called WASP-39b and is a glowing gas giant. It was first discovered in 2011 and is about 700 light-years from Earth.
Understanding the formation of such planets is critical to knowing how they first originated and evolved, NASA wrote in a press release.
Carbon dioxide particles are sensitive traces in the history of planet formation, says Mike Lane. He is an associate professor at Arizona State University College.
The latest discovery will be published in the popular journal Nature over the next week.
It says something about how special our solar system is
Detected via infrared telescope spectrometer. This is one of four tools that make it possible to observe the atmosphere outer planets.
These measurements make it possible to know the amount of solid matter, as well as the amount of gas used to make the planet.
Over the next ten years, James Webb will make a series of such measurements on several similar planets.
– This will also give better insight into what is completely unique in our solar system, says Mike Lane.
Pictures are out of the ordinary
James Webb is a collaboration between NASA, the European Space Agency, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency, the Canadian Space Agency.
On Christmas Day last year, the telescope was finally launched. The trip to the destination took almost a month.
The new space telescope can see farther than any other instrument, and it can literally see all the way back to the dawn of history.
– Like reading a poem
Carbon dioxide is naturally present in the Earth’s atmosphere. as part of carbon cycle. But the gas is increasingly being emitted by human activities.
Scientists believe that finding carbon dioxide in the atmospheres of other planets is an important step toward finding possible traces of extraterrestrial life. The ability to study the atmospheres of such exoplanets has been a long-awaited area of research, according to NASA.
The discovery of such a clear signal of CO₂ on WASP-39b bodes well. It makes it possible to make similar discoveries also on smaller Earth-like planets, project manager Batalha says.
Because it is unlikely that you will find exactly signs of life on this gas giant.
Laura Creedberg is also part of the research group. She works at the Max Planck Institute in Germany. She describes the new discovery as follows:
Seeing the data for the first time was like reading an entire poem, where previously we only had every third word.
Mats Carlson is Professor of Astronomy at UiO. It’s exciting, he says, that you can now study what the atmosphere contains.
The professor is not surprised to find carbon dioxide, but he says the new telescope is providing impressive results.
– It exceeds all expectations. One of James Webb’s main goals is the study of exoplanets. We were able to detect it before, but now we can actually study it.
The dream is to find free oxygen, Carlson tells NRK.
– With the help of these precise measurements, it would have been a dream. If you find free oxygen, you are much closer to finding life.
More sensitive than thought
Håkon Dahle is a researcher, and he himself is involved in a project with the James Webb Telescope. He says the new discovery shows the telescope is more sensitive than previously thought.
And this, especially in such observations, gives better signals than expected.
– Now the next goal will be to make similar measurements on planets more similar to Earth. WASP-39b has a surface temperature of 900 degrees, which is larger than Jupiter. One hopes to be able to say something about the formations of planets far from their star. Then the temperatures are more comparable to ours.
In addition to finding free oxygen in the atmosphere, Dahl hopes that water can also be detected.
“Explorer. Unapologetic entrepreneur. Alcohol fanatic. Certified writer. Wannabe tv evangelist. Twitter fanatic. Student. Web scholar. Travel buff.”