NASA detects carbon dioxide on a planet outside of our solar system for the first time

Shawn Knight

Posts: 14,457   +171
Staff member
What just happened? The James Webb Space Telescope has detected the presence of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of an exoplanet 700 light-years from Earth. The discovery marks the first time carbon dioxide has been observed on a planet outside of our solar system.

WASP-39 b is a gas giant with a mass roughly one-quarter that of Jupiter and a diameter 1.3 times greater than Jupiter. It is toasty, too, with a temperature of around 1,600 degrees Fahrenheit thanks in part to the fact that it orbits very close to its star – about one-eighth the distance between Mercury and the Sun, or around 4.5 million miles away.

Previous observations using NASA's Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes confirmed the presence of sodium, potassium and water vapor in the planet's atmosphere. Webb's Near-Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec) tool was used to observe WASP-39b as it passed in front of its star.

As the planet passes in front of the star, some of the light from the star is transmitted through its atmosphere. Different gases absorb different combinations of colors, and analyzing these changes across a spectrum of wavelengths allows researchers to determine exactly what a planet's atmosphere is comprised of.

"As soon as the data appeared on my screen, the whopping carbon dioxide feature grabbed me," said Zafar Rustamkulov, a graduate student at Johns Hopkins University and member of the JWST Transiting Exoplanet Community Early Release Science team. "It was a special moment, crossing an important threshold in exoplanet sciences."

It takes just over four Earth-days for WASP-39 b to orbit its star. These frequent transits make it an ideal candidate for transmission spectroscopy.

Natalie Batalha of the University of California at Santa Cruz, who leads the team, said detecting such a clear signal of carbon dioxide on WASP-39 b bodes well for the detection of atmospheres on smaller planets.

Data like this will help researchers better understand the origin of the planet and how it evolved. Mike Line of Arizona State University, another member of the research team, said that by measuring carbon dioxide specifically, they can determine the ratio of solid versus gaseous material that was used to form the planet.

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kimo1

Posts: 261   +469
"It is toasty, too, with a temperature of around 1,600 degrees Fahrenheit...."

Wait for the global warming cult to chime in in 3, 2, 1.....

We need to go introduce peace and freedo... I mean... green energy! Yeah!
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 8,266   +7,619
"It is toasty, too, with a temperature of around 1,600 degrees Fahrenheit...."

Wait for the global warming cult to chime in in 3, 2, 1.....
Its temperature is far more likely to be due to its proximity to the star it is orbiting, and the fact that CO2 is scientifically proven to retain heat.

I'll wait for the global warming deniers to chime in about how the Earth is warming due to natural "solar cycles."
 

Endymio

Posts: 1,838   +1,909
... the fact that CO2 is scientifically proven to retain heat. I'll wait for the global warming deniers to chime in...
Somewhere between the Left-wing lunacy of "the science is settled" and the Right-wing absurdity of "man can't possible affect the climate" is a much more interesting reality. No one has ever denied that CO2 is opaque to infrared wavelengths, and thus acts somewhat to "retain heat". The dispute revolves around, among other points, the following facts:

-- The greenhouse effect on Earth is controlled almost entirely by water vapor -- it absorbs far more of the LWIR spectrum, and there's far more of it in the atmosphere.
-- Natural processes release far more CO2 into the atmosphere each year than does mankind -- about 25X as much, in fact.
-- Given that the mean planetary temperature is still significantly below a value man -
-- and most of the plant and animal species we depend upon -- find most amenable, a moderate degree of warming will have positive effects, benefits that may outweigh the negatives.
-- CO2's status as airborne fertilizer -- an essential component of plant growth -- is already generating enormous increases in global food crop production, and is expected to generate further increases until at least the 1,500ppm level.

Until James Hansen came along with his positive-feedback theories linking CO2 to water vapor levels, CO2-based warming was considered to be essentially negligible. Hansen's models fit the observed data extremely well in the late 80s and 1990s. Since then, they've shown increasing divergence, which explains why every IPCC report since the first FAR in 1990 has scaled down the expected degree of warming, even though actual carbon emissions outstripped original estimates.
 

psycros

Posts: 4,461   +6,650
Stick to the topic in the news article, please.

Wow, no instant deletions? A reasonable Techspot mod - who knew they still existed?
Somewhere between the Left-wing lunacy of "the science is settled" and the Right-wing absurdity of "man can't possible affect the climate" is a much more interesting reality. No one has ever denied that CO2 is opaque to infrared wavelengths, and thus acts somewhat to "retain heat". The dispute revolves around, among other points, the following facts:

-- The greenhouse effect on Earth is controlled almost entirely by water vapor -- it absorbs far more of the LWIR spectrum, and there's far more of it in the atmosphere.
-- Natural processes release far more CO2 into the atmosphere each year than does mankind -- about 25X as much, in fact.
-- Given that the mean planetary temperature is still significantly below a value man -
-- and most of the plant and animal species we depend upon -- find most amenable, a moderate degree of warming will have positive effects, benefits that may outweigh the negatives.
-- CO2's status as airborne fertilizer -- an essential component of plant growth -- is already generating enormous increases in global food crop production, and is expected to generate further increases until at least the 1,500ppm level.

Until James Hansen came along with his positive-feedback theories linking CO2 to water vapor levels, CO2-based warming was considered to be essentially negligible. Hansen's models fit the observed data extremely well in the late 80s and 1990s. Since then, they've shown increasing divergence, which explains why every IPCC report since the first FAR in 1990 has scaled down the expected degree of warming, even though actual carbon emissions outstripped original estimates.

This. More of this. Sooo tired of the triabalistic, knee-jerk reactionaries spouting their dogma as if they had any scientific credibility themselves. There's no question that humans, like every other life from, have some impact on the climate. The only question is how much, and unfortunately competing political and economic agendas have most climate science professionals on their payrolls. There is no truth any more - only competing narratives.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 8,266   +7,619
Somewhere between the Left-wing lunacy of "the science is settled" and the Right-wing absurdity of "man can't possible affect the climate" is a much more interesting reality. No one has ever denied that CO2 is opaque to infrared wavelengths, and thus acts somewhat to "retain heat". The dispute revolves around, among other points, the following facts:

-- The greenhouse effect on Earth is controlled almost entirely by water vapor -- it absorbs far more of the LWIR spectrum, and there's far more of it in the atmosphere.
-- Natural processes release far more CO2 into the atmosphere each year than does mankind -- about 25X as much, in fact.
-- Given that the mean planetary temperature is still significantly below a value man -
-- and most of the plant and animal species we depend upon -- find most amenable, a moderate degree of warming will have positive effects, benefits that may outweigh the negatives.
-- CO2's status as airborne fertilizer -- an essential component of plant growth -- is already generating enormous increases in global food crop production, and is expected to generate further increases until at least the 1,500ppm level.
And again, we are to take your lack of appeal to authority as authority rather than supplying links to consensus driven conclusions?
Until James Hansen came along with his positive-feedback theories linking CO2 to water vapor levels, CO2-based warming was considered to be essentially negligible. Hansen's models fit the observed data extremely well in the late 80s and 1990s. Since then, they've shown increasing divergence, which explains why every IPCC report since the first FAR in 1990 has scaled down the expected degree of warming, even though actual carbon emissions outstripped original estimates.
See the above paragraph.

Your responses are generally highly opinionated. Back yourself up with scientific consensus rather than citing yourself as the "ultimate" authority.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 8,266   +7,619
Wow, no instant deletions? A reasonable Techspot mod - who knew they still existed?

This. More of this. Sooo tired of the triabalistic, knee-jerk reactionaries spouting their dogma as if they had any scientific credibility themselves. There's no question that humans, like every other life from, have some impact on the climate. The only question is how much, and unfortunately competing political and economic agendas have most climate science professionals on their payrolls. There is no truth any more - only competing narratives.
Very well said!
 

bviktor

Posts: 1,061   +1,543
"It is toasty, too, with a temperature of around 1,600 degrees Fahrenheit...."

Wait for the global warming cult to chime in in 3, 2, 1.....
Nah, Celsius cult here. Seriously, stop using Fahrenheit. It's the most braindamaged way to measure temp.
 

Uncle Al

Posts: 9,327   +8,523
Going to be interesting to see just how many of our theories are changed by these new discoveries ...
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 8,266   +7,619
Endymio, what a well-thought out and measured reply! Thank you!
While the response contains some valid scientific facts, what it fails to mention is that the water vapor in the Earth's atmosphere results from warming, and provides positive feedback to the warming of the Earth and its atmosphere.

What that post fails to mention is that water vapor, itself, is not considered a driver of global warming.

What are the drivers, then? CO2 and other greenhouse gasses which are all agreed upon by scientific consensus.

Rather than take my word, or the word of some other internet citizen, for it, why not read about it from a recognized source of valid scientific information - https://globalchange.mit.edu/news-media/in-the-news/greenhouse-gases-water-vapor-and-you