JWST Finds CO2 in Exoplanet Atmosphere

Beth Johnson
3 min readSep 8, 2022

Using JWST’s spectrograph, researchers have measured a distant exoplanet’s atmospheric composition and found carbon dioxide for the first time.

IMAGE: A transmission spectrum of the hot gas giant exoplanet WASP-39 b captured by Webb’s Near-Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec) on July 10 reveals the first definitive evidence for carbon dioxide in a planet outside the solar system. This is the first detailed transmission spectrum ever captured that covers wavelengths between 3 and 5.5 microns. CREDIT: NASA, ESA, CSA, Leah Hustak (STScI), Joseph Olmsted (STScI)

JWST can do more than just take pretty — and sometimes blobby — images. Using its spectrograph, researchers can measure the composition of distant objects. In a first-of-its-kind measurement, JWST revealed carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of the exoplanet…

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Beth Johnson

Planetary scientist, podcast host. Communication specialist for SETI Institute and Planetary Science Institute. Buy me a coffee: https://ko-fi.com/planetarypan