In this still picture from a NASA TV broadcast, the James Webb Space Telescope separates from Arianespace's Ariane 5 rocket after launching from Europe’s Spaceport, the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana, on Dec 25, 2021. (AFP / NASA TV)
LOS ANGELES – NASA's James Webb Space Telescope has captured the first clear evidence for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of a planet outside the solar system, NASA said on Thursday.
This observation of a gas giant planet orbiting a sun-like star 700 light-years away provides important insights into the composition and formation of the planet, said NASA.
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The finding offers evidence that in the future Webb may be able to detect and measure carbon dioxide in the thinner atmospheres of smaller rocky planets, according to NASA.
The silhouette of US engineer and NASA astronaut Megan McArthur is seen past the NASA logo in the Webb Auditorium at NASA headquarters in Washington, DC, on June 7, 2022. (STEFANI REYNOLDS / AFP)
Previous observations from other telescopes, including NASA's Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes, revealed the presence of water vapor, sodium, and potassium in the planet's atmosphere.
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Webb's unmatched infrared sensitivity has now confirmed the presence of carbon dioxide on this planet as well, said NASA.