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Publication Detail
Early Release Science of the exoplanet WASP-39b with JWST NIRCam.
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
  • Authors:
    Ahrer E-M, Stevenson KB, Mansfield M, Moran SE, Brande J, Morello G, Murray CA, Nikolov NK, Petit Dit de la Roche DJM, Schlawin E, Wheatley PJ, Zieba S, Batalha NE, Damiano M, Goyal JM, Lendl M, Lothringer JD, Mukherjee S, Ohno K, Batalha NM, Battley MP, Bean JL, Beatty TG, Benneke B, Berta-Thompson ZK, Carter AL, Cubillos PE, Daylan T, Espinoza N, Gao P, Gibson NP, Gill S, Harrington J, Hu R, Kreidberg L, Lewis NK, Line MR, López-Morales M, Parmentier V, Powell DK, Sing DK, Tsai S-M, Wakeford HR, Welbanks L, Alam MK, Alderson L, Allen NH, Anderson DR, Barstow JK, Bayliss D, Bell TJ, Blecic J, Bryant EM, Burleigh MR, Carone L, Casewell SL, Changeat Q, Chubb KL, Crossfield IJM, Crouzet N, Decin L, Désert J-M, Feinstein AD, Flagg L, Fortney JJ, Gizis JE, Heng K, Iro N, Kempton EM-R, Kendrew S, Kirk J, Knutson HA, Komacek TD, Lagage P-O, Leconte J, Lustig-Yaeger J, MacDonald RJ, Mancini L, May EM, Mayne NJ, Miguel Y, Mikal-Evans T, Molaverdikhani K, Palle E, Piaulet C, Rackham BV, Redfield S, Rogers LK, Roy P-A, Rustamkulov Z, Shkolnik EL, Sotzen KS, Taylor J, Tremblin P, Tucker GS, Turner JD, de Val-Borro M, Venot O, Zhang X
  • Publication date:
  • Journal:
  • Status:
    Published online
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Measuring the metallicity and carbon-to-oxygen (C/O) ratio in exoplanet atmospheres is a fundamental step towards constraining the dominant chemical processes at work and, if in equilibrium, revealing planet formation histories. Transmission spectroscopye.g., 1,2 provides the necessary means by constraining the abundances of oxygen- and carbon-bearing species; however, this requires broad wavelength coverage, moderate spectral resolution, and high precision that, together, are not achievable with previous observatories. Now that JWST has commenced science operations, we are able to observe exoplanets at previously uncharted wavelengths and spectral resolutions. Here we report time-series observations of the transiting exoplanet WASP-39b using JWST's Near InfraRed Camera (NIRCam). The long-wavelength spectroscopic and short-wavelength photometric light curves span 2.0 - 4.0 µm, exhibit minimal systematics, and reveal well-defined molecular absorption features in the planet's spectrum. Specifically, we detect gaseous H2O in the atmosphere and place an upper limit on the abundance of CH4. The otherwise prominent CO2 feature at 2.8 µm is largely masked by H2O. The best-fit chemical equilibrium models favour an atmospheric metallicity of 1-100× solar (i.e., an enrichment of elements heavier than helium relative to the Sun) and a sub-stellar carbon-to-oxygen (C/O) ratio. The inferred high metallicity and low C/O ratio may indicate significant accretion of solid materials during planet formatione.g., 3,4 or disequilibrium processes in the upper atmospheree.g., 5,6.
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