NewsJames Webb telescope reveals scorching light from Earth-like TRAPPIST-1 b

James Webb telescope reveals scorching light from Earth-like TRAPPIST-1 b

NASA discovered infrared light on the planet TRAPPIST-1 b.
NASA discovered infrared light on the planet TRAPPIST-1 b.
Images source: © NASA | NASA

10:22 AM EDT, April 3, 2024

NASA has reported an exceptional event on the planet TRAPPIST-1 b, which bears a structural resemblance to Earth. The James Webb Space Telescope has captured infrared light emanating from it, signaling a discovery that's not entirely optimistic.
The TRAPPIST-1 planetary system, discovered by NASA, ranks among the most fascinating cosmic findings in recent times. Located about 40 light-years away, it features a star orbited by at least seven rocky planets. Notably, these planets share structural similarities with Earth, fueling scientific pursuits for extraterrestrial life.

Given this background, it's no surprise that NASA scientists further scrutinized this celestial grouping. This time, their focus on TRAPPIST-1 b, and observations made using the James Webb Space Telescope, disclosed that the planet emits light.

NASA's groundbreaking findings, albeit with slim hope

The light detected is infrared, yet this observation is groundbreaking. It marks the first time such a phenomenon has been observed on an exoplanet.
However, NASA's research concludes that TRAPPIST-1 b is unlikely to host signs of advanced life. Calculations, including those related to infrared light emission, suggest that temperatures on the planet's lit side reach about 446 degrees Fahrenheit—far too hot for an atmosphere to exist.
Nonetheless, scientists remain optimistic. The data collected offers valuable insights, propelling efforts to find a "second Earth." Astrophysicist Thomas Greene points out that stars similar to TRAPPIST-1 outnumber those like our Sun by tenfold. This enhances the chances of discovering rocky exoplanets, akin in size to Earth, where conditions could support life.
Related content