The James Webb Telescope detects a planet outside the solar system for the first time

Scientists announced, Wednesday, that James Webb Telescope of the agency NASA It was used – for the first time – to confirm the existence of a planet outside the solar system.

The planet, named LHS 475 b, is mostly rocky and roughly the size of Earth, according to scientists.

Confirmation of the existence of an exoplanet marks an important milestone for the James Webb Telescope, which was launched in December 2021 and began operations less than a year ago. The discovery shows how the observatory can be used to search for potentially habitable planets in the universe and to examine the chemical composition of their atmospheres.

“These first observational results from a rocky planet the size of Earth open the door to several future possibilities for studying the atmospheres of rocky planets using James Webb,” Mark Clampin, director of the Astrophysics Department at NASA headquarters in Washington DC, said in a statement. Webb brings us ever closer to a new understanding of Earth-like worlds beyond our solar system, and the mission is still in its infancy.”

The James Webb telescope was able to confirm that LHS 475 b is an Earth-sized planet, but researchers don’t yet know if the exoplanet has an atmosphere. But over the summer, they expect to collect more data that could help them identify specific molecules in the atmosphere, or determine whether an exoplanet contains at least one such molecule.

print James Webb telescope Since its launch to explore the early universe and the atmospheres of distant planets 2022 Exceptionally, it gives hope for major discoveries in the coming years. Since it is located at a distance of one and a half million kilometers from Earth, the successor to the space telescope is exciting Hubble Which is also still in service, astonishing astronomers with its images, which have unprecedented accuracy.

Also, the accuracy of its launch allows it to continue working for a period of no less than twenty years, after the guaranteed life expectancy was ten years.

And unlike the Hubble telescope, which observes the universe mainly in the range of the visible spectrum that the human eye can detect, the James Webb telescope is able to “see” in infrared, which is radiation that is naturally emitted by all objects, from celestial bodies to flowers.

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