“James Webb” first confirmed the discovery of an exoplanet

(ORDO NEWS) –The James Webb Infrared Space Telescope has helped astronomers confirm an exoplanet candidate for the first time.

The goal of the observations was an Earth-like rocky planet near a red dwarf close to the Sun, for which scientists excluded models of a thick atmosphere dominated by methane or hydrogen.

One of the main areas of research in modern exoplanetology is the search for and determination of atmospheric parameters for rocky planets orbiting dwarf stars.

This is necessary to understand the evolution of such objects and search for potentially habitable planets.

Previously, the Hubble and Spitzer telescopes were engaged in spectroscopic studies of exoplanetary atmospheres, but now, the more technologically advanced James Webb telescope has replaced the Spitzer.

A team of astronomers led by Jacob Lustig-Yaeger of the Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University has reported a new confirmed exoplanet discovery, a first for the James Webb Space Infrared Observatory.

This is the planet LHS 475b, which was originally discovered by the TESS space telescope using the transit method.

James Webb observed the exoplanet candidate on August 31 and September 4, 2022 using the NIRSpec near-infrared spectrograph.

The parent star of the planet is a red dwarf of the spectral type M3.5V, with an effective temperature of 3300 kelvins and a radius of 0.2789 solar radii and located 40.7 light years from the Sun.

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Transit moment of exoplanet LHS 475b on the light curve of the parent star

LHS 475b has a radius of 0.99 Earth radii and has been estimated to have a mass of 0.914 Earth masses, assuming it is a rocky planet.

It makes one revolution around the star in 2.029 days, is located inside the habitable zone and has an equilibrium temperature of 586 kelvins.

In this case, the planet is most likely in a tidal lock, which means that one of its sides is always facing the star.

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Atmospheric transmission spectrum of exoplanet LHS 475b

The James Webb data has not yet provided a definitive answer about the presence or absence of an atmosphere in LHS 475b – scientists have only excluded models of a primary atmosphere dominated by hydrogen and a cloudless methane atmosphere.

An exoplanet can have an atmosphere with high-altitude clouds like Venus, a rarefied atmosphere like that of Mars, or not have a pronounced gaseous envelope like Mercury.

It is expected that in 2023 the telescope will observe the third transit of LHS 475b across the disk of the star, which will allow us to refine the current results.


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