Dataset Open Access
Zafar Rustamkulov; David K. Sing; Sagnick Mukherjee; Erin May; James Kirk; Everett Schlawin; Michael R. Line; Caroline Piaulet; Aarynn Carter; Natasha E. Batalha; Jayesh Goyal
Associated publication: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-022-05677-y
OVERVIEW: Transmission spectroscopy of exoplanets has revealed signatures of water vapor, aerosols, and alkali metals in a few dozen exoplanet atmospheres. However, these previous inferences with the Hubble and Spitzer Space Telescopes were hindered by the observations’ relatively narrow wavelength range and spectral resolving power, which precluded the unambiguous identification of other chemical species—in particular the primary carbon-bearing molecules. Here we report a broad-wavelength 0.5–5.5 µm atmospheric transmission spectrum of WASP-39 b, a 1200 K, roughly Saturn-mass, Jupiter-radius exoplanet, measured with JWST NIRSpec’s PRISM mode as part of the JWST Transiting Exoplanet Community Early Release Science Team program. We robustly detect multiple chemical species at high significance, including Na (19σ), H2O (33σ), CO2 (28σ), and CO (7σ). The non-detection of CH4, combined with a strong CO2 feature, favours atmospheric models with a super-solar atmospheric metallicity. An unanticipated absorption feature at 4 µm is best explained by SO2 (2.7σ), which could be a tracer of atmospheric photochemistry. These observations demonstrate JWST’s sensitivity to a rich diversity of exoplanet compositions and chemical processes.
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