JWST Takes Its First Image of an Exoplanet

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JWST Takes Its First Image of an Exoplanet

Post by fred8615 »

The James Webb Space Telescope has taken its first direct image of an exoplanet, a planet outside our Solar System. The exoplanet, HIP 65425 b is a gas giant that orbits an A-type star, has a mass of about nine times that of Jupiter and is about 355 light-years from Earth. While the planet has virtually no chance of being habitable, the data from these observations show just how powerful a tool JWST will be for studying exoplanets.

“This is a transformative moment, not only for Webb but also for astronomy generally,” said Sasha Hinkley in a NASA blog post. Hinkley is associate professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom, who led these observations with a large international collaboration. The team’s preliminary science paper has been posted on arXiv.

The planet was originally discovered in 2017 by the Very Large Telescope in Chile, which took images of it using short infrared wavelengths of light. Astronomers were interested in looking at this planet with JWST, as the telescope’s ability to view in longer infrared wavelengths can reveal new details that ground-based telescopes wouldn’t be able to detect.

This is not the first direct image of an exoplanet taken from space. Over 20 exoplanets have been imaged previously by the Hubble Space Telescope and ground-based telescopes like the Gemini Planet Imager. But this first exoplanet image from JWST showcases the upcoming possibilities for studying distant worlds.

Read more: https://www.universetoday.com/157404/jw ... %ef%bf%bc/
Frederick J. Barnett
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