Webb Telescope images Jupiter-like planet 350 light years away

September 1, 2022

Checking off one of its key goals, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) imaged its first exoplanet — a young, gas giant planet six to 12 times more massive than Jupiter orbiting a star 350 light years from Earth.

“The JWST cameras were designed to take photos of exoplanetary systems, and we just demonstrated that everything works like a charm,” said astronomer Paul Kalas, an adjunct professor of astronomy at the University of California, Berkeley, and a co-investigator for the telescope’s Early Release Science (ERS) program focused on exoplanets. “The planet was first discovered in 2017 by ground-based observatories, but JWST is able to capture the planet’s warm emission at longer, infrared wavelengths.”

The star, HIP 65426, is very young and hot, having recently completed its planet-forming stage. It lies in the southern constellation Centaurus.

“This planetary system is only 14 million years old, and these new data will advance our knowledge of how planets form and evolve,” Kalas said.

Berkeley News