The newly deployed James Webb Space Telescope has found the first clear evidence of carbon dioxide in the atmospheres of an exoplanet.
NASA confirmed the evidence, saying it was found in the atmosphere of a planet orbiting a star about 700 light-years from Earth. Planets orbiting stars outside our solar system are called exoplanets.
The exoplanet where carbon dioxide was found or detected was a hot gas planet, NASA said. It was discovered in 2011 and is known as WASP-39b. This exoplanet, about the same mass as Saturn, remains at around 900 degrees Celsius. It’s still hot because it orbits so close to its star.
The space agency said the Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes have made observations of WASP-39 b in the past.These observations suggest the presence of water steamsodium and potassium in exoplanet atmospheres.
But now, it also has carbon dioxide in its atmosphere. NASA said the Webb telescope was able to make the discovery because of its unusual technological capabilities.
The researchers described the finding in a paper published online recently.A detailed study of the discovery will appear in an upcoming publication nature.
NASA describes Webb as “the largest and most powerful space science telescope ever built.” It is a joint partnership between NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency.
Webb aims to collect more data and explore parts of the space that have never been observed before. In July, NASA released the first images taken by the Webb telescope. The images demonstrate Webb’s ability to gather data on distant objects and observe highly detailed elements of galaxies and exoplanets.
A sensitive infrared instrument allowed the orbiting observatory to confirm the presence of carbon dioxide in WASP-39 b’s atmosphere, NASA said. The instrument is called a near-infrared spectrometer (NIRSpec).
NIRSpec is designed to capture radiation at near-infrared wavelengths. If the conditions are right, astronomers can use the instrument to create detailed maps of some of the chemicals found in planetary atmospheres. This allows scientists to look for the presence of gases and other substances.
Zafar Rustamkulov is a student at Johns Hopkins University and a member of Weber’s early release science team. He said in a statement that as soon as he saw the carbon dioxide data, he knew it was a major discovery. “This is a special moment that spans an important critical point in exoplanet science. “
Natalie Batalha of UC Santa Cruz helped lead the team.”Such a clear CO2 signal was detected on WASP-39b,” she said. good sign for detecting smaller atmospheres, terrestrialsize planet. “
NASA said the findings are important because they help scientists better understand the makeup of planetary atmospheres. This can provide valuable information about how planets form and develop over time.
“The carbon dioxide molecule is very sensitive tracer The story of planet formation,” said Mike Lane of Arizona State University, another member of the research team. “By measuring this carbon dioxide … we can determine how much solid and how much gas was used to form this gas giant. . “
In the coming years, the Webb telescope is expected to continue making similar discoveries, Line added. In doing so, scientists can obtain “insight Gain insight into how planets form and unique Our own solar system. “
I’m Brian Lynn.
Brian Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English, based on reports from NASA, AFP and the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy.
word in this story
steam – n. droplets of liquid in the air
critical point – n. the level at which something starts to happen
good sign – n. be a good omen for the future
terrestrial – adjective of or about the earth
trace – v. to follow something
insight – n. The ability to see things as they really are
Unique – adjective different from other things
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