Humanity's giant space telescope has captured evidence of carbon dioxide in a planet outside of the solar system for the first time.
According to a Thursday press release on NASA TV, for the first time, NASA's James Webb Telescope has captured clear evidence of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of a gas giant exoplanet called WASP-39 b.
The detection was made using Webb's Near-Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec) and took the form of a small bump between 4.1 and 4.6 microns on the spectrum related to the exoplanet's atmosphere. The evidence helps shine a light on how planets are formed.
"As soon as the data appeared on my screen, the whopping carbon dioxide feature grabbed me,” Zafar Rustamkulov, a graduate student at Johns Hopkins University and member of the JWST Transiting Exoplanet Community Early Release Science team, which undertook this investigation, said in the press release. “It was a special moment, crossing an important threshold in exoplanet sciences.”
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