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24 Mar, 2023
1 min time to read

The JWST was able to even determine what the storm's atmosphere consists of.

The storm was observed on exoplanet VHS 1256 b, a massive brown dwarf planet located about 40 light-years away from Earth. The JWST was able to determine that the storm's atmosphere is made of silicate particles ranging from fine specks to small grains, which periodically rain into the depths of the planet's atmosphere. The telescope also identified clear signatures of water, methane, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide.

This discovery has provided scientists with a wealth of data on VHS 1256 b's dynamic cloud and weather systems. The planet, which was first detected in 2015 by the Vista telescope in Chile, is a "super Jupiter" with an atmosphere similar to our Solar System's gas giant but much larger, between 12 to 18 times the mass. This marks the first time that a single telescope has gathered so much data at once for a single target, making it a major milestone in our understanding of exoplanets.

Andrew Skemer, co-author of the team's forthcoming paper in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, said, "No other telescope has identified so many features at once for a single target. We're seeing a lot of molecules in a single spectrum from Webb that detail the planet's dynamic cloud and weather systems."

This latest discovery by the JWST is yet another reminder of its remarkable capabilities and the potential for further groundbreaking discoveries in the future.