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'Transformative moment': James Webb takes direct image of planet outside our solar system

New Delhi, IndiaEdited By: Srishti Singh SisodiaUpdated: Sep 02, 2022, 01:45 AM IST
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NASA - James Webb Photograph:(Others)

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The exoplanet is about six to 12 times the mass of Jupiter, and NASA said that these observations could help narrow that down even further 

In a historic sighting, James Webb Space Telescope captured the first direct image of a planet outside of our solar system. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) said that it is roughly six to 12 times the mass of Jupiter. 

The American space agency noted that the showcased images from Webb science are in progress, and have not yet been through the peer-review process. 

NASA said that the image, which is seen through four different light filters, shows how worlds beyond our solar system can easily be captured by James Webb's powerful infrared gaze. 

It paves the way forward in space exploration and gives a peek into future observations that will reveal more information than ever before about exoplanets. 

Sasha Hinkley, who is an associate professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom, said, "This is a transformative moment, not only for Webb but also for astronomy generally." Hinkley led these observations with a large international collaboration. 

James Webb, the world's largest and most complex space science telescope ever built, has captured an exoplanet called HIP 65426 b. 

The exoplanet is about six to 12 times the mass of Jupiter, and NASA said that these observations could help narrow that down even further. 

In the blog, NASA said that the exoplanet is young as planets go, about 15 to 20 million years old, compared to 4.5-billion-year-old Earth. 

NASA's article mentioned that HIP 65426 b is about 100 times farther from its host star than Earth is from the Sun. 

HIP 65426 b was discovered by astronomers in 2017 using the SPHERE instrument on the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope in Chile. They took images of it using short infrared wavelengths of light. 

As the name suggests, an exoplanet or extrasolar planet is a planet outside the solar system. Experts have noted that the exoplanet is a gas giant, which means it has no rocky surface and could not be habitable. 

HIP 65426 b

Image: This image shows the exoplanet HIP 65426 b in different bands of infrared light, as seen from the James Webb Space Telescope: purple shows the NIRCam instrument’s view at 3.00 micrometers, blue shows the NIRCam instrument’s view at 4.44 micrometers, yellow shows the MIRI instrument’s view at 11.4 micrometers, and red shows the MIRI instrument’s view at 15.5 micrometers. Credit: NASA. 

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