NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope made the first confirmation of an exoplanet. An exoplanet is a planet that orbits a star outside our solar system.
The American space agency says the exoplanet is nearly the same size as Earth.
Researchers from the Johns Hopkins University Physics Laboratory in Maryland examined the new data collected by Webb to make the confirmation.
Past observations made by another NASA telescope have shown evidence of the existence of some exoplanets. But Webb’s confirmation made the discovery official.
Another space telescope is called the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS. TESS was launched in 2018 with the goal of finding further planets outside our solar system.
The exoplanet called LHS 475 b. The researchers said that the exoplanet is quite close to Earth. An octant about 41 years old sits in the star. A light year is the distance of one light year.
Exoplanets are difficult for telescopes to detect. One reason is that bright light can be hidden from orbiting stars. The search process includes observing drops in the level of starlight. Such drops can be caused by a planet transiting or passing in front of a star.
Researchers said Webb could confirm the existence of an exoplanet using the transit observation method. They say the confirmation came quickly after only two events had passed.
NASA said the Webb telescope was designed to provide a higher level of detail in its observations. equipped with the latest technology to observe infrared waves. These waves are electromagnetic energy that cannot be seen by the human eye. NASA says the telescope’s instruments can detect infrared waves through gas and dust to observe distant objects.
Jacob Lustig-Yaeger helped conduct the research. He said in a statement that the data telescope would facilitate clear confirmation. “There is no doubt that it is a planet.”
The discovery was recently presented at the American Astronomical Society conference in Seattle, Washington.
Another team leader, Kevin Stevenson, added that the confirmation “impressive“The exoplanet is small and rocky, which makes identification more difficult.
Among all NASA’s operating telescopes, only Webb is equipped to collect information on the atmospheres of exoplanets. But in this case, the researchers said they don’t have enough data to confirm what kind of atmosphere LHS 475 b has.
Physicists usually use computer models and telescope data to study the atmospheres of exoplanets. Another member of the research team, Erin May, said the Webb telescope could easily identify a series of different molecules. “But we can’t do anything” definitively conclusions He added the following about the atmosphere of the planet.
While the researchers said they can’t confirm what’s in the exoplanet’s atmosphere, they’re pretty sure it’s not present. For example, LHS 475 b may not have a thick atmosphere, commonly known as methane, Lustig-Yaeger said.
The team also noted that it is possible that exoplanets have no atmosphere at all. Some of the available data suggests that the exoplanet may have an atmosphere of pure carbon dioxide. But the researchers said they plan to collect more data in future observations to help them study atmospheric conditions.
NASA says that so far more than 5,000 exoplanets have been confirmed. But Lustig-Yaeger noted that the Webb telescope is much better equipped to find small, rocky exoplanets. He said this would probably lead to more exoplanet confirmations.
And Lustig-Yaeger added, “We’ve barely begun.” scratching the surface what were their atmospheres. “
I’m Bryan Lynn.
Bryan Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English, based on reports from NASA.
The words in this story
impressive – adj. to make a good or marked impression
definitively – adj. It is clear that it is not likely to change
conclusion – n. After considering all the information, a decision is reached
total surface – idiom only a small part of the matter or question is dealt with
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