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James Webb mapped the weather of an exoplanet

James Webb mapped the weather of an exoplanet

Increasingly accurate and reliable news, even if the distances seem unapproachable: A team of scientists has managed to map the weather of an exoplanet, using the James Webb Space Telescope.

How deep and detailed can the information humans be able to obtain about what’s happening on distant celestial bodies? The answer is as simple and trite as it is true: a lot. In fact, much more than we might expect. This is evidenced by the latest study revealed by researchers at NASA, who examined A Exoplanet Very far from Earth and they were able to learn about its weather conditions.

Well, yes: the team of scientists involved literally did just that The weather is set A cosmic body orbiting at a distance of 1.3 million miles, was able to detect its temperature and the presence of atmospheric gases with extreme accuracy. A fantastic result that clearly opens doors to many future opportunities.

WASP-43 is James Webb

If many astronomical discoveries appear by chance, the exoplanet discovery we are talking about is actually the result of a completely careful and deliberate investigation. Processes of scientists participating in the study (Published in Science Daily) is actually part of the software Web of Science Early Releasedesigned by NASA to provide the scientific community with a series of data capable of studying a wide range of cosmic phenomena.

The basis of everything is the use of the James Webb Space Telescope, which was aimed at this specific case Wasp-43b The exoplanet orbits the orange dwarf WASP-43 and is similar in size to Jupiter. WASP-43 b is a gas giant planet composed mostly of hydrogen and helium, but it is hotter than any giant planet in our solar system. This is because its orbit around the orange dwarf is very narrow and short (only 19.5 hours), so the planet has one side that is constantly lit and the other side that is always dark.

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However, even if the “night” side receives no direct radiation, some wind transfers heat from the day side. It is precisely because of these properties that it was chosen for in-depth study: on paper, it has always been too far away and too close to its star to be seen directly with a simple telescope, but James Webb’s instruments have managed to uncover exceptional data.

Very detailed weather forecast

Specifically, he used the team led by James Webb Merry (Mid-Infrared Instrument) of the space telescope, an instrument capable of performing a Phase curve spectroscopy, a technique that involves measuring small changes in brightness. The light coming from the WASP-43 system was monitored and measured every 10 seconds for more than 24 hours, allowing the temperature of the two different sides of the planet to be calculated.

Results? Obviously very detailed weather forecast: average temperature is on the diurnal side Basically 2300 degrees Fahrenheit (hot enough to form iron) while the night side stops at 1,100°F. Measurements are also suggested The presence of dense and high clouds It covers the night side, skies are clear on the day side, and tropical winds reach speeds of up to 5,000 miles per hour, mixing and decomposing atmospheric gases throughout the planet.

Goals for the future

As also stated in the study, accurately revealing all the meteorological data for this exoplanet is only the beginning of a longer, more ambitious and complex journey. With the discoveries on WASP-43 b, scientists have done nothing but demonstrate the extraordinary capabilities of James Webb, who, thanks to a series of upgrades and improvements, is increasingly able to collect data in ways that were previously unimaginable.

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Currently, Webb can measure temperature changes and detect atmospheric gases Millions of miles awayBut space scanning technology is evolving. The primary goal remains one we have been pursuing for a very long time: to find an exoplanet with Earth-like conditions, and to understand all the dynamics that sparked life and which, who knows, could spark it elsewhere as well.