James Webb has now taken a deeper look at an alien planet located 700 light-years away from our Sun. The planet in question is WASP-39b, and as of now, it’s the best-explored planet outside of our solar system.
This exploration was possible thanks to James Webb’s infrared lighting that allowed him to get deeper into the atmosphere of an alien planet. Webb’s data about the planet before these observations has allowed astronomers to get more information about it.
WASP-39b is a boiling Saturn-like planet. With these new observations, James Webb has deciphered more about the planet’s chemistry and allowed astronomers to test new methods to detect extraterrestrial life, which scientists believe exists in some manner within our universe. Though the hunt has been less than fruitful so far, this could change things.
If WASP-39b sounds familiar, it’s because I’ve reported on this alien planet and James Webb’s observations of it in the past. Back in August, the space telescope detected carbon dioxide in the exoplanet’s atmosphere, a major breakthrough for astronomers and the hunt to better understand our universe’s various planets.
With these new observations by James Webb, though, scientists are putting together more pieces regarding the alien planet and its atmosphere. New data suggests that WASP-39b is shrouded in thick clouds that contain sulfur and sulfates. The chemicals react with the starlight of the planet, creating an analogous reaction to the way Earth’s atmosphere creates ozone.
It’s an intriguing discovery and one that could help pinpoint new ways for James Webb to observe alien planets like this. It’s fascinating to consider the new possibilities that the space telescope will bring to astronomy’s future. The space telescope has already provided the most complete view of Orion’s Nebula and other areas of space.
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