Breaking: James Webb took the first image of an exoplanet

Credit image: NASA/ESA/CSA, A Carter (UCSC), the ERS 1386 team, and A. Pagan (STScI)
Credit image: NASA/ESA/CSA, A Carter (UCSC), the ERS 1386 team, and A. Pagan (STScI)

Article by: Andacs Robert Eugen, on 01 September 2022, at 07:43 am Los Angeles time

The James Webb Space Telescope took the first image of an exoplanet! It is the first for the new telescope launched last year on December 25. 

Webb captured a fairly young gas giant, and the infrared image can be seen in 4 different filters, recently presented by the European Space Agency. The exoplanet is called HIP 65426 b, and it has 6 to 8 times the mass of the largest planet in the Solar System, Jupiter. 

The gas giant was discovered in 2017 by the SPHERE instrument on the Very Large Telescope of the European Southern Observatory in Chile with short wavelengths of infrared light. 

Even though the planet is at a distance of 100 times from its star than Earth is from the Sun, it is 10,000 times fainter than its star. Thus, observations can be difficult to differentiate the planet from its star. 

However, Webb was able and we hope that it will surprise us with such images and observations throughout its mission. 

The observations were made by an international team, led by Sasha Hinkley, associate professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom.

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