Webb telescope detects light on Earth-like planet called TRAPPIST-1

The discovered planet is very similar to Earth and NASA is investigating it for being able to have life.

In an unprecedented advance in space exploration on a distant planet, the James Webb Space Telescope , also known as Webb , has managed to measure light emission from a rocky exoplanet orbiting the star TRAPPIST-1 , a noticeably cooler M dwarf. and smaller than our sun. This planet, called TRAPPIST-1b , does not emit visible light, but rather a glow in the infrared spectrum, defying expectations and opening new possibilities in the study of celestial bodies outside our solar system.

Initial discovery of TRAPPIST-1 exoplanets

The discovery followed detailed observations by NASA 's Spitzer Space Telescope , which initially identified several rocky exoplanets orbiting TRAPPIST-1. However, it has been Webb that has provided more precise data on these celestial formations, particularly on TRAPPIST-1b , whose characteristics are beginning to be clarified in greater detail.

Dr. Pierre-Olivier Lagage, co-author of the study, shared his excitement about this milestone: “This has been a goal I have dreamed of achieving. For the first time, we can directly detect emission from a rocky, temperate planet. "It represents a significant advance in the history of exoplanet discovery."

Extreme temperatures in TRAPPIST-1b

According to Webb measurements, TRAPPIST-1b registers extremely high temperatures, around 230 °C, comparable to those of a domestic oven. This high temperature suggests that the exoplanet may lack an atmosphere to moderate these extreme conditions. The lack of atmosphere is also a crucial factor in understanding why the planet emits an infrared glow instead of visible light.

The unique capability of the Webb Telescope

Dr. Thomas Greene, a NASA astrophysicist and lead author of the study in the journal Nature, highlighted Webb's unique ability to make such measurements: "No previous telescope has had the sensitivity to detect such faint light in the mid-infrared." . "This allows us to explore in depth the characteristics of planets that until now were too dark to be studied in detail."

Exploring planetary systems around M dwarf stars

These investigations are crucial to understanding the dynamics of planetary systems orbiting M dwarf stars , which are too different from our own solar system to find a habitable planet. Studying these planets not only helps us better understand the conditions under which planetary atmospheres could form and maintain, but also explore the possibilities of life beyond our terrestrial environment.

Challenging our perceptions and expanding our knowledge

With each new observation and discovery, the Webb continues to challenge our perceptions and the official study can be read in the journal Nature with current information about the cosmos and expanding the horizons of our scientific knowledge. This telescope, with its unprecedented ability to capture light from the most remote and faint celestial objects, is an essential tool in the continuing search for answers about the formation of the universe and the potential habitability of other worlds.

The planet TRAPPIST-1b: Similar to Earth?

Although TRAPPIST-1b is not a habitable exoplanet due to its extreme temperatures, it shares some crucial characteristics with Earth. Like our planet, TRAPPIST-1b is a rocky and solid body, in contrast to gas giants like Jupiter or Saturn.

The TRAPPIST-1 system with the planet in the middle is very similar to Earth.

This fundamental similarity in composition opens the door to a deeper analysis of the conditions that could allow life to exist on other worlds. By studying planets like TRAPPIST-1b, scientists can gain valuable information about the formation and evolution of rocky exoplanets, which in turn could shed light on the processes that shaped Earth and made it habitable.

Searching for signs of life beyond our solar system

Although TRAPPIST-1b is not a likely candidate to host life due to its extreme conditions, the discovery of its infrared glow sets an exciting precedent. As the Webb Telescope continues to explore more distant star systems, there is a chance to detect exoplanets with characteristics more favorable for life.

Scientists have already identified several potentially habitable exoplanets in the so-called "Goldilocks zone," a region around a star where temperatures could allow liquid water to exist on a planet's surface. If Webb manages to detect the presence of atmospheres on these exoplanets, it could be a promising indicator of conditions that could support life forms.

The future of exoplanet exploration

The advances made by the Webb Telescope in detecting rocky exoplanets and their infrared glow represent a significant step in exoplanet exploration. As more data and observations accumulate, scientists will be able to refine their models and theories about the formation and evolution of planetary systems.

Furthermore, the ability to detect planetary atmospheres opens new avenues for the study of chemical composition and the search for biomarkers, molecules that could be indicators of life. Although we are still far from confirming the existence of extraterrestrial life, each new discovery brings us one step closer to unraveling the mysteries of the cosmos.


The discovery of TRAPPIST-1b's infrared glow by the Webb Telescope is an exciting milestone in space exploration. This achievement not only challenges our perceptions of exoplanets, but also opens new avenues for the study of distant planetary systems and the search for habitable conditions on other worlds.

As we continue to explore the cosmos, the Webb Telescope and other advanced tools will be crucial to unlocking the secrets of the universe and expanding the boundaries of our knowledge about the formation and evolution of stellar and planetary systems.

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