James Webb Telescope observes light on Earth-like planet for the first time in history

It's the first time light has been detected from a planet outside our solar system
  • The James Webb Space Telescope has discovered light on an Earth-like planet
  • It’s the first time this has happened in history
  • The planet is comparable in size to Earth but has no atmosphere

Published on Apr 5, 2024 at 3:05PM (UTC+4)

Last updated on Apr 5, 2024 at 7:47PM (UTC+4)

Edited by Tom Wood
James Webb Telescope observes light on Earth-like planet for the first time in history

In proof – if any were needed – that our knowledge of the universe is expanding, the James Webb Telescope has discovered light on an Earth-like planet for the first time.

However, while the planet is comparable in size to Earth and has an M-dwarf star (the smallest and coolest kind), it has no atmosphere.

NASA’s infrared Spitzer Space Telescope discovered seven rocky exoplanets orbiting a star known as TRAPPIST-1 around eight years ago.

READ MORE! NASA reveals lunar racer car that’ll transport astronauts to uncharted destinations on the Moon

But now NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has taken a deeper look in a study published in the journal Nature.

While no visible light was emitted, TRAPPIST-1b, gave off an infrared glow.

The sun, roughly 40.7 light-years away from Earth, was discovered 24 years ago.

In other deep space news, scientists have discovered a. body of water in a black hole 30 billion trillion miles away.

“There was one target that I dreamed of having,” Dr Pierre-Olivier Lagage, co-author of the study, said.

“And it was this one.

“This is the first time we can detect the emission from a rocky, temperate planet.

“It’s a really important step in the story of discovering exoplanets.”

The telescope was able to measure the temperature of one of the rocky exoplanets orbiting the star.

And it’s pretty hot, clocking in at a blistering 230°C (446°F).

The innermost planet in the cluster receives four times the energy that Earth gets from the Sun.

In other solar news, an ‘artificial sun’ here on Earth has set a record after achieving a temperature seven times hotter than our sun’s core.

Simulations of the tide-locked planet, with one side always facing its bright host and the other in permanent darkness, suggest it has no atmosphere.

Air would redistribute heat around both sides, resulting in a lower temperature.

NASA explained that it’s the first exoplanet found to have any form of light while being as small and as cool as rocky planets in our own solar system.

“These observations take advantage of Webb’s mid-infrared capability,” Dr Thomas Greene, a NASA astrophysicist and the study’s lead author explained.

“No previous telescopes have had the sensitivity to measure such dim mid-infrared light.”

In a press release, NASA explained the significance of the findings.

“The result marks an important step in determining whether planets orbiting small active stars like TRAPPIST-1 can sustain atmospheres needed to support life,” it said.

“It also bodes well for Webb’s ability to characterize temperate, Earth-sized exoplanets using MIRI.”

And proving their commitment to getting humans into space on a more regular or permanent basis, NASA is creating a new time zone for the moon.

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