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The Webb Telescope detects carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of a planet outside our solar system for the first time

The Webb Telescope detects carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of a planet outside our solar system for the first time

Zafar Rustamkulov, a graduate student at Johns Hopkins University and a member of the Web Transiting Exoplanet Community Early Release Science team, said the research that was done. “It was a special moment, we’ve crossed an important threshold in exoplanet research.”

No other observatory has ever measured such minute differences in the brightness of many individual colors between 3 and 5.5 microns in the exoplanet’s transmission spectrum.

This part of the spectrum is important for measuring the amount of gases such as water and methane, as well as carbon dioxide, which is believed to exist in many different forms on exoplanets.

“The detection of such a clear signal of carbon dioxide on WASP-39 b bodes well for atmospheric detection on smaller Earth-sized planets,” said study leader Natalie Battalhaven of the University of California, Santa Cruz. .

Knowing the composition of the planet’s atmosphere is important because it teaches us about the origin of the planet and how it evolved.

“CO2 molecules are sensitive markers of planetary formation history,” said Mike Lane of Arizona State University, another member of the research team. “By measuring this property of carbon dioxide, we can determine how much solid and how much gaseous material was used to form this gas giant. Over the next decade, the Webb Telescope will be making these measurements for a range of different planets and this will give us insights into the details of how planets form. and in the singularity of our solar system.”

The team’s findings have been accepted for publication in the journal Nature. This article is based on a press release from webtelescope.org.

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