Thanks to the precision of the JWST, scientists are able to make highly accurate observations about a planet that has virtually identical dimensions as earth.
NASA’s new space telescope is just the start in discovering a multitude of planets. Moreover, it offers an unprecedented level resolution to examine these distant planets like never before, as it has the unparalleled capability to analyze their atmospheres.
Currently, scientists have been unable to say what is present in the planet’s atmosphere. It does not appear to contain methane-dominated air comparable with Titan, one of Saturn’s moons.
Scientists are eager to further understand the atmosphere on the far-reaching planet with time, demonstrating how JWST can be utilized for investigations of other planets. In addition, many more remarkable revelations will likely surface over the course of coming weeks and months.
“These first observational results from an Earth-sized, rocky planet open the door to many future possibilities for studying rocky planet atmospheres with Webb,” agreed Mark Clampin, Astrophysics Division director at Nasa Headquarters in Washington.
“Webb is bringing us closer and closer to a new understanding of Earth-like worlds outside the Solar System, and the mission is only just getting started.”
The cosmic body, dubbed LHS 475 b, is 41 light-years away in the Octans star group. It was first detected by Nasa’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) and swiftly confirmed with the James Webb Space Telescope’s (JWST) superior observational capabilities.
Although much remains unknown about our universe, early observations have verified some facts: the world has a diameter nearly identical to Earth’s and is several hundred degrees warmer. The small size of these rocky planets makes them extremely difficult to observe with less powerful instruments; however, discoveries indicate that JWST will be able to detect them easily due to its enhanced capabilities.
“This rocky planet confirmation highlights the precision of the mission’s instruments,” said Kevin Stevenson from Johns Hopkins University, who helped lead the work. “And it is only the first of many discoveries that it will make.”