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Webb Space Telescope Found No Evidence Of An Atmosphere At 7th Earth-sized Planet

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Webb Space Telescope

(CTN NEWS) – According to recent findings by the Webb Space Telescope, there appears to be a lack of atmospheric presence on one of the seven Earth-sized, rocky planets orbiting a distant star.

Webb Space Telescope said that doesn’t bode well for the rest of this solar system’s planets

On Monday, a group of scientists at Webb Space Telescope Found No Evidence Of An Atmosphere At 7th Earth-sized Planet conveyed that this development is not a positive sign for the other planets within our solar system.

This is particularly concerning for planets in the optimal range for containing water and potentially supporting life.

According to Sara Seager, an astrophysicist from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who was not involved in the research, it is not necessarily a failure for the other planets. However, it remains to be seen.

The Trappist solar system, comprising seven planets similar to ours, has piqued astronomers’ interest since its discovery at a distance of merely 40 light-years.

In the realm of cosmology, the aforementioned distance can be considered relatively proximate; to be precise, a light-year encompasses approximately 5.8 trillion miles.

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Three of the seven planets are in their star’s habitable zone, making this star system even more alluring

This particular star system boasts a remarkable feature, as three out of its seven planets have been found to orbit within the habitable zone.

This intriguing discovery adds to the allure of the system and its potential for further exploration and study.

According to the findings of the team led by NASA, it has been reported that there is a negligible presence of atmosphere at the planet’s innermost region.

The findings were officially released on Monday via the esteemed scientific publication, Nature.

According to Thomas Greene, the lead researcher at NASA’s Ames Research Center, the absence of an atmosphere would result in the absence of water and inadequate shielding from cosmic rays.

Regarding the remaining planets revolving around the diminutive and faint Trappist star, Greene expressed his reservations about their atmospheric composition.

He conveyed his opinion via email, stating that he would have been more sanguine about the presence of atmospheres in the other planets if the current one had one.

According to Seager, a researcher at MIT, in the event that the rocky planets revolving around ultracool red dwarf stars fail to meet expectations, the search for Earth-like planets around sun-like stars may be a protracted undertaking.

According to Greene, the absence of an atmosphere in the innermost planet of the Trappist system could be attributed to the intense solar radiation it receives, which is four times greater than what Earth receives from its sun.

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According to his team’s findings, the temperatures on the side of the planet constantly facing its star were recorded to be as high as 450 degrees Fahrenheit (230 degrees Celsius).

Utilizing Webb, the most extensive and potent telescope ever launched into space, American and French scientists successfully gauged the luminosity variation as the innermost planet transited behind its star.

This enabled them to approximate the quantity of infrared radiation emitted by the planet.

The European Space Agency has acknowledged the significance of Webb’s detection of the planet despite the minimal change in brightness due to the Trappist star’s luminosity being over 1,000 times greater than the planet’s.

This achievement marks a major milestone in the field.

Further observations are scheduled on the aforementioned planet and the other celestial bodies in the Trappist system.

Hubble was replaced by Webb in late 2021, 1 million miles (1.6 million kilometers) away

According to Taylor Bell, a member of the research team from the Bay Area Environmental Research Institute, it is possible that observing this planet through a different wavelength may reveal an atmosphere that is comparably less dense than our own.

However, the likelihood of such an atmosphere being sustainable remains uncertain.

According to Michael Gillon, a team member that identified the initial three Trappist planets in 2016, additional investigation may reveal the presence of an atmosphere, albeit one that differs from Earth’s.

He was not a participant in the mostrecent study.

According to Gillon, the study of rocky exoplanets is a relatively unexplored field, as current scientific knowledge is primarily derived from observations of the four rocky planets within our own solar system.

Webb, deployed to an observation post situated 1 million miles (1.6 million kilometers) away, debuted in late 2021.

It is widely regarded as the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, which has been in orbit around Earth for over three decades.

Previously, the Trappist system was thoroughly examined for atmospheres by the Hubble and Spitzer Space Telescopes. However, conclusive outcomes were not obtained.

According to Julien de Wit, an expert from MIT who was not involved in the study, “the inner planets offer unique learning opportunities that differ from those presented by other planets.

This is just the beginning of our exploration, and much is to be discovered.”


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Alishba Waris is an independent journalist working for CTN News. She brings a wealth of experience and a keen eye for detail to her reporting. With a knack for uncovering the truth, Waris isn't afraid to ask tough questions and hold those in power accountable. Her writing is clear, concise, and cuts through the noise, delivering the facts readers need to stay informed. Waris's dedication to ethical journalism shines through in her hard-hitting yet fair coverage of important issues.

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