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BREAKING: NASA’s James Webb Telescope discovers Earth’s twin just 41 light-years away

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has found an exoplanet that is comparable to Earth in size.

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has made a groundbreaking discovery of an exoplanet located just 41 light-years away from Earth. The planet, named LHS 475 b, is a rocky, Earth-sized world that orbits its star, LHS 475, every 11 hours and 20 minutes.

LHS 475 b is located in the constellation of Centaurus and is one of the closest exoplanets to Earth that has been found to date. The planet is about 1.3 times the size of Earth and has a surface temperature of around 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit.

The James Webb Space Telescope is equipped with advanced instruments that allow scientists to study exoplanets in greater detail than ever before.

This includes the ability to study the planets’ atmospheres and potential biosignatures, which could reveal the presence of life.

One of the most exciting aspects of this discovery is that LHS 475 b is located so close to Earth, making it an ideal target for follow-up studies.

The proximity of the planet to Earth allows for detailed studies of its atmosphere, which could reveal new insights into the formation and evolution of rocky planets.

The JWST’s ability to detect the exoplanet was made possible thanks to its advanced instrumentation, including the Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam) and the Near Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec), which are designed to detect and study exoplanets.

How comparable is the new planet to Earth?

It’s possible that this exoplanet has an environment not too dissimilar to our own. It revolves around a red dwarf star, which is closer to it than our star is.

We may compare the size of a red dwarf to that of Earth’s sun and find that it is far cooler. These are the same stars that take Superman’s abilities away.

As a result, even though it is close to the star, the atmosphere may still exist.

The Webb telescope’s capacity to recognize atmospheric indicators is one of its benefits. The atmosphere of the exoplanet does not contain a significant amount of methane, unlike Saturn’s moon Titan.

Exoplanet
How do researchers spot a distant planet? By observing the changes in light as it orbits its star. A light curve from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope’s Near-Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec) shows the change in brightness from the LHS 475 star system over time as the planet transited the star on August 31, 2022. (NASA Graphic)

It’s impossible to tell whether it has an atmosphere made entirely of carbon dioxide. The possibility still hasn’t been ruled out, but more exact data is required for that.

This exoplanet has a higher average temperature than Earth. The scientists speculated that if it did have an atmosphere, it may resemble Venus more.

How many other planets have we found so far?

NASA claims that the 1990s saw the discovery of the first exoplanets. Numerous thousands have since been located. The majority of them have been inadvertently found.

The transit technique, which involves watching a star fade when a planet passes in front of it, may be used to see extrasolar planets. Another method for finding exoplanets is by using infrared light.

Most planets are smaller, according to NASA’s exoplanet division. The number of planets in our galaxy is thought to be in the billions, with planets thought to be more numerous than stars.

While smaller gas giants like Neptune make up the bulk of known exoplanets, Jupiter and Saturn-sized gas giants are in second place in terms of quantity.

NASA Exoplanet
Researchers used NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope’s Near-Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec) to observe exoplanet LHS 475 b on August 31, 2022. As this spectrum shows, Webb did not observe a detectable quantity of any element or molecule. The data (white dots) are consistent with a featureless spectrum representative of a planet that has no atmosphere (yellow line). The purple line represents a pure carbon dioxide atmosphere and is indistinguishable from a flat line at the current level of precision. (NASA Photo)

This discovery is a significant step forward in the search for exoplanets, particularly those that are located close to Earth. It also demonstrates the capabilities of the James Webb Space Telescope and its potential to discover and study many more exoplanets in the future.

In conclusion, The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has made a groundbreaking discovery of an exoplanet located just 31 light-years away from Earth, named LHS 475 b, which orbits its star every 11 hours and 20 minutes.

This discovery is a significant step forward in the search for exoplanets, particularly those that are located close to Earth, and also demonstrates the capabilities of the JWST to discover and study many more exoplanets in the future.

With inputs from CNBC

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Written by Alex Bruno

Freelance space writer Alex Bruno specializes in covering China's quickly expanding space industry. In 2021, he started writing for SpaceXMania. He also contributes to publications including SpaceNews, IEEE Spectrum, National Geographic, Sky & Telescope, and New Scientist. When Alex was a small child, he first experienced the space bug after seeing Voyager photographs of alien planets in our solar system. When not in space, Alex likes to go trail jogging in the Finnish countryside.

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