If the pictures of the legendary James Webb Space Telescope Keep blowing your mind, you’re not the only one – the Space Observatory has provided us with detailed images of distant galaxies, nebulae and even a cosmic backyard.
But Scientists from Harvard and MIT warn that models that astronomers used to analyze James Webb data may be flawed. In a new study published in Nature Astronomy, astronomers claim that telescope data could disrupt the way scientists identify a habitable planet.
Why James Webb’s data might be wrong
“Opacity models – tools that represent how light interacts with matter as a function of material properties – may need significant reset in order to match the accuracy of the JWST data,” the researchers say..
If such models are not refined, important life-determining properties such as temperature, pressure, and elemental composition may be misinterpreted.
“There is a scientifically significant difference between having a compound like water at 5 percent versus 25 percent, which current models are unable to discern,” says study co-leader Julian de Witt, assistant professor in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at MIT. . EAPS).
As de Witt explained, the current model used to process the data is called the “Rosetta Stone” language translation and has also been used in the Hubble Space Telescope. But for greater accuracy, more work is needed.
“Now that we’re taken to the next level with Web resolution, our translation process will prevent us from discovering important minute details, such as those that make the difference between a planet being habitable or not,” de Witt said.
According to the research paper, the JWST predictions will not be able to differentiate between a planet with an atmospheric temperature of 300 K and another planet that is twice as hot as 600 K.
“There is a lot that can be done if we know exactly how light interacts with matter,” said Niraula, the graduate student who worked on the study. “We know that well enough about Earth conditions, but once we move into different types of atmosphere, things change, and that’s a lot of data, as the quality increases, we risk misinterpreting it,” Nirwala added.
Study: Astronomers risk misinterpreting planetary signals in JWST data. (2022, September 15). MIT News | Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Retrieved on September 20, 2022 from https://news.mit.edu/2022/astronomers-models-planetary-data-0915
Al-Sibai, n. (2022b, September 19). Harvard and MIT scientists warn that James Webb’s data may not be what it seems. futuristic. Retrieved on September 20, 2022 from