Scientists have conducted the first lab experiments on haze formation in simulated exoplanet atmospheres, an important step for understanding upcoming observations of planets outside the solar system with the James Webb Space Telescope.

The simulations are necessary to establish models of the atmospheres of far-distant worlds, models that can be used to look for signs of life outside the solar system. Results of the studies appeared this week in Nature Astronomy.

"One of the reasons why we're starting to do this work is to understand if having a haze layer on these planets would make them more or less habitable," said the paper's lead author, Sarah Hörst, assistant professor of Earth and planetary sciences at the Johns Hopkins University.

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Category: Science