James Webb: First Earth-like exoplanet confirmed

James Webb: First Earth-like exoplanet confirmed

So far, however, it is not known whether the planet, provisionally named LHS 475b, has an atmosphere and what kind

Astronomers in the US have confirmed for the first time with the help of the James Webb Space Telescope the existence of a nearby exoplanet. It is about the rocky one LHS 475bwho has almost similar size with the Earth (99% of its diameter), while being only 41 light-years away in the constellation Octadus.

Researchers from the Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore made the announcement at a conference of the American Astronomical Society. The initial discovery of this exoplanet was made by the TESS space telescope of the American Space Agency (NASA) and was followed by its confirmation with new observations by the more powerful Webb telescope.

Among all telescopes, the James Webb it is the only one that can study the atmospheres of Earth-sized exoplanets. So far, however, it is not known whether LHS 475b has atmosphere and what kind.

The team, in their quest to better explore the planet, has ruled out a dense, methane-dominated atmosphere similar to that of Saturn’s moon Titan. More precise measurements with the telescope will follow.

Because Webb has already found that this exoplanet is several hundred degrees Celsius hotter than Earth, it is possible that it has the atmosphere of Venus, that is, it contains a large amount of carbon dioxide and dense clouds. The planet completes a complete orbit around its star in just two days (the length of its year) as it moves very close to its star, a red dwarf that is half the temperature of the Sun.

A light curve from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope Near Infrared Spectrometer (NIRSpec) shows the change in brightness from the star system LHS 475 over time as the planet crossed the star on August 31, 2022 – and so the telescope spotted.


With information from RES

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