Today, NASA said the James Webb Space Telescope has observed a distant planet outside our solar system. The planet is being called GJ 1214 b, seems to be a highly reflective world with a steamy atmosphere.
NASA says the planet is too hot to harbor liquid-water oceans, but that doesn’t stop the possibility of water in vaporized form in the atmosphere.
According to Eliza Kempton, a researcher at the University of Maryland, “The planet is totally blanketed by some sort of haze or cloud layer. The atmosphere just remained totally hidden from us until this observation.”
To get past this layer, the research team tracked GJ 1214 B through it’s entire orbit around the star. They found that the planet had different temperatures based on it’s orbit – they ranged from 535 to 326 degrees Fahrenheit.
They believe this large shift in temperature is because the atmosphere is made of heavier molecules, such as water and methane.
It’s great to know the Jame’s Webb Telescope is still finding new things.