James Webb Space Telescope general discussion thread

And just to head off any misconceptions, “photochemistry” does not mean “photosynthesis”.

Unless you’re taking pictures of plants.

is also not “phytochemistry”. Which is spelled almost identically but is also about plants.

This is not to be confused with the planned atmospheric analysis of Trappist-1e, -1f, and -1g, three planets in the Trappist-1 system thought to be in the habitable zone. WASP-38b is a gas giant very close to its star and not a candidate for life, but is a good candidate for atmospheric analysis because it’s closer than the Trappist system and has a thick atmosphere.

The Trappist analysis will be much harder to do but potentially more interesting. It’s also speculated, though, that being close to a cool star, as these planets are, may not be conducive to life as the proximity may make them vulnerable to radiation from stellar flares. Sill, Dr. Becky was pretty excited about this forthcoming research. According to the JWST observing schedule, five observations were made of Trappist-1b just over the past several weeks. Not sure why they’re focused on 1b as that wasn’t believed to be in the habitable zone.

She’s pretty excited about everything.

She certainly bubbles with enthusiasm, but IIRC the atmospheres of the Trappist-1 planets was #1 on her list of most exciting approved JWST projects, and I tend to agree. I wish I knew more about the detailed plans, and also why Trappist-1b has been the focus of recent observations. The observation notes just say “MIRI”, which could mean many things as the MIRI instrument encompasses both spectrographic and imaging functions.

I see what you did there.