Carbon dioxide gas detected for the first time on an extraterrestrial planet
Understanding the composition of a planet’s atmosphere is crucial in exoplanet research, as it tells us about the planet’s origins and how it evolved.
NASA astronomers have discovered evidence of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere surrounding an extrasolar planet, 700 light-years away.
WASP-39 b is a gas giant orbiting a star, just as Earth orbits the Sun, located about 700 light-years away from us, has a mass approximately 1/4 of jupiter’s mass and a temperature of about 900 degrees Celsius.
Unlike the gas giants but very cold planets in our Solar System, WASP-39 b orbits very close to its star and completes a loop in just over four Earth days.
The planet was first reported in 2011, through observations from terrestrial astronomical instruments of the periodic dimness of light from its host star.