JWST Reveals Atmosphere


JWST Reveals Atmosphere

Tags: JWST

Time: Thursday, Dec 15, 2022 -

Location: Online

JWST launched in December 2021, and many scientific hopes were pinned on the successful deployment of the new telescope, including the potential for analyzing exoplanet atmospheres. When the first images were released in July of this year, one of them was an analysis of the atmosphere of WASP-96b. Now, thanks to the Early Release Science program, the JWST team announced on November 22, 2022, a full chemical analysis of a different exoplanet - WASP-39b.

WASP-39b is a 'hot Saturn', and JWST's multi-instrument, compositional profile includes water, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, sodium, and potassium. This finding marks the first detection of sulfur dioxide in an exoplanet atmosphere, which is likely the result of photochemical reactions and is another first for exoplanet science. All together, the analysis bodes well for future studies of exoplanets, including the TRAPPIST-1 system

Organized by exoplanet scientist Natalie Batalha, the international team released five papers, each of which was lead by a graduate student or post doc. Four of these lead authors - Adina Feinstein, Eva-Maria Ahrer, Shami Tsai, and Zafar Rusamkulov - are joined by communications specialist Beth Johnson to discuss these amazing results.

Press release: https://esawebb.org/news/weic2221/?lang