The James Webb captures the first image of an exoplanet – La Vanguardia

The James Webb Space Telescope has taken its first image of an exoplanet. It is the gas giant planet HIP 65426b that orbits its star HIP 65426 at a distance 100 times greater than that of the Earth from the Sun. This exoplanet has 12 times the mass of Jupiter and since it does not have a rocky surface it could not be habitable, as explained NASA in the milestone release. Full image of Webb’s images of -HIP65426b by the NIRCam and MIRI instruments with different coronagraph masks (NIRCam F300M and F444W, and MIRI F1140C and F1550C) NASA “The image, viewed through four different light filters, It shows how Webb’s powerful infrared gaze can easily capture worlds beyond our solar system, pointing the way to future observations that will reveal more information about exoplanets than ever before.” HIP 65426b orbits its star at a distance 100 times greater than that of the Sun from the Earth. The distance of the exoplanet from its host star has made it easier for the brightness of the star not to interfere so much when it comes to capturing it. “It is far enough from the star that Webb can easily separate the planet from the star in the image,” explains NASA. Artist’s illustration of the James Webb Space Telescope, unraveling the universe in a background image depicting infrared radiation Space Telescope Science Institute The images were taken with the NIRCam near-infrared and MIRI mid-infrared cameras. Both instruments incorporate coronagraphs that help suppress starlight and accurately focus nearby objects. “NASA’s Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope, scheduled to launch later this decade, will showcase an even more advanced coronagraph,” the agency explains. Webb can focus on a planet and prevent light from the star it orbits from blurring the image”In each filter image, the planet appears as a slightly differently shaped patch of light. This is due to peculiarities of Webb’s optical system and how it translates light through the different optics”, summarizes NASA. The Hubble Space Telescope had already captured direct images of previously discovered exoplanets from Earth with methods that inferred their presence. For example, the detection of the transit of a planet in front of its star by observing with telescopes how when the planet passes in front of it, the light of the star dims. Integration of the Mid-Infrared Instrument, MIRI with one of the cameras that captured HIP 65426b, in the James Webb science instrument module during construction NASA HIP 65426b was discovered from Earth in 2017. It is estimated to be 15 to 20 million years old, much younger than our Earth, which is 4,500 years old. “I think the most exciting thing is that we’re just getting started,” Aaryn Carter of the University of California, who led the analysis of the images, told NASA. “There are many more images of exoplanets to come that will shape our overall understanding of their physics, chemistry, and formation. We may even discover hitherto unknown planets.” One of the two instruments that have captured HIP 65426b is the MIRI mid-infrared instrument, the first to be built for Webb and which has had Spanish participation in its conception, design and fine-tuning. read also