This discovery is not evidence of life on this planet. According to the researchers, the measurement is an important step in the search for planets where life is possible.
An international group of astronomers made the discovery. They include scientists from the Leiden Observatory, the SRON Research Institute and the University of Amsterdam. The research will soon be published in the important scientific journal Nature.
Scientists have examined the planet WASP-39 b. It is about the same size as Jupiter and about the same weight as Saturn. The temperature on the planet is about 900 degrees. That’s because the planet is close to its star, 700 light-years from Earth. The planet is also called Buccabriens, after a beach in Aruba.
When the planet passes in front of the star, the star’s light shines through the planet’s atmosphere. James Webb captures this light and measures all its components, thus determining the composition of the atmosphere.
James Webb was launched on Christmas Day and arrived at his workplace 1.5 million kilometers from Earth in late January. It was developed by the United States, Europe and Canada, as the successor to the famous Hubble Space Telescope. The project will cost approximately 8 billion euros. From the Netherlands, Leiden University and research institute TNO are involved in the mission, among others.
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