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James Webb Space Telescope discovers its first exoplanet


It is about 41 light-years away and as big as Earth: The new space telescope "James Webb" has identified a planet that orbits in another solar system.

Enlarge image

Illustration: This is what the exoplanet could look like

Photo: Illustration: Leah Hustak / ESA / CSA / NASA

The James Webb space telescope has discovered its first exoplanet.

The US space agency Nasa announced that there had already been indications of the exoplanet “LHS ​​475” and that its existence had now been confirmed for the first time with the help of the telescope.

"LHS 475" has almost exactly the same diameter as our Earth and is about 41 light years away.

It is still unclear whether the exoplanet has an atmosphere similar to our earth's atmosphere.

For a long time, astronomers only knew about the planets orbiting our sun.

The first exoplanets - celestial bodies that usually orbit a star outside our solar system - were only confirmed in the early 1990s.

Nasa experts assume that there are hundreds of billions of exoplanets in our galaxy, the Milky Way.

Around the sun in just two days

"LHS 475" is hundreds of degrees warmer than Earth and orbits much closer to its star.

It only takes him two days to move around this one once.

Despite the high temperatures, astronomers think it's possible the planet might have an atmosphere because the star the exoplanet orbits is a so-called red dwarf — a star much colder than our Sun.

The James Webb telescope was built jointly by the space agencies in Europe (ESA), the USA (Nasa) and Canada (CSA).

It was launched at the end of 2021 on board an Ariane launch vehicle from the European spaceport in Kourou in French Guiana – after there had previously been cost explosions and repeated postponements.

For a moment it looked as if the US Congress would halt the entire mission.

The telescope is now delivering spectacular images, 15 years late and at almost 20 times the price originally set.

In the summer of 2022, the first images from the telescope were released and provided the deepest and most detailed insights into space to date.


Source: spiegel

All tech articles on 2023-01-13

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