A rocky planet with a hint of a water vapor-rich atmosphere has been discovered with the help of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, despite its proximity to its star. The exoplanet, known as GJ 486 b, located in the constellation Virgo about 26 light-years away, is roughly 30% larger than Earth and almost three times as massive. It orbits a red dwarf star and completes a revolution in under 1.5 Earth days. The study published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters notes that despite GJ 486 b being too close to its star to be within the habitable zone, it exhibits signs of water vapor that could indicate an atmosphere. However, researchers caution that the water vapor signals detected might not necessarily come from the planet, but from the star itself. Additional observations are needed to narrow down how much water is present and determine if the planet has an atmosphere.
Distant planet displaying signs of water-vapour atmosphere spotted by NASA’s Webb telescope
- 6 May 2023
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Maxwell Thompson is a seasoned political correspondent who has covered elections, policies, and international relations for over a decade. With a degree in political science and a natural curiosity for global politics, Maxwell brings a unique perspective to his writing. In his downtime, he enjoys reading historical biographies and analyzing political trends.
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