Early Release Science of the Exoplanet WASP-39b with JWST NIRSpec G395H

Alderson, Lili; Wakeford, Hannah R; Alam, Munazza K; Batalha, Natasha E; Lothringer, Joshua D; Redai, Jea Adams; Barat, Saugata; Brande, Jonathan; Damiano, Mario; Daylan, Tansu; Espinoza, Néstor; Flagg, Laura; Goyal, Jayesh M; Grant, David; Hu, Renyu; Inglis, Julie; Lee, Elspeth K H; Mikal-Evans, Thomas; Ramos-Rosado, Lakeisha; Roy, Pierre-Alexis; Wallack, Nicole L; Batalha, Natalie M; Bean, Jacob L; Benneke, Björn; Berta-Thompson, Zachory K; Carter, Aarynn L; Changeat, Quentin; Colón, Knicole D; Crossfield, Ian J M; Désert, Jean-Michel; Foreman-Mackey, Daniel; Gibson, Neale P; Kreidberg, Laura; Line, Michael R; López-Morales, Mercedes; Molaverdikhani, Karan; Moran, Sarah E; Morello, Giuseppe; Moses, Julianne I; Mukherjee, Sagnick; Schlawin, Everett; Sing, David K; Stevenson, Kevin B; Taylor, Jake; Aggarwal, Keshav; Ahrer, Eva-Maria; Allen, Natalie H; Barstow, Joanna K.; Bell, Taylor J; Blecic, Jasmina; Casewell, Sarah L; Chubb, Katy L; Crouzet, Nicolas; Cubillos, Patricio E; Decin, Leen; Feinstein, Adina D; Fortney, Joanthan J; Harrington, Joseph; Heng, Kevin; Iro, Nicolas; Kempton, Eliza M-R; Kirk, James; Knutson, Heather A; Krick, Jessica; Leconte, Jérémy; Lendl, Monika; MacDonald, Ryan J; Mancini, Luigi; Mansfield, Megan; May, Erin M; Mayne, Nathan J; Miguel, Yamila; Nikolov, Nikolay K; Ohno, Kazumasa; Palle, Enric; Parmentier, Vivien; Petit Dit de la Roche, Dominique J M; Piaulet, Caroline; Powell, Diana; Rackham, Benjamin V; Redfield, Seth; Rogers, Laura K; Rustamkulov, Zafar; Tan, Xianyu; Tremblin, P; Tsai, Shang-Min; Turner, Jake D; de Val-Borro, Miguel; Venot, Olivia; Welbanks, Luis; Wheatley, Peter J and Zhang, Xi (2023). Early Release Science of the Exoplanet WASP-39b with JWST NIRSpec G395H. Nature, 614 pp. 664–669.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-022-05591-3


Measuring the abundances of carbon and oxygen in exoplanet atmospheres is considered a crucial avenue for unlocking the formation and evolution of exoplanetary systems1,2. Access to an exoplanet's chemical inventory requires high precision observations, often inferred from individual molecular detections with low-resolution space-based3-5 and high-resolution ground-based6-8 facilities. Here we report the medium-resolution (R≈600) transmission spectrum of an exoplanet atmosphere between 3-5 μm covering multiple absorption features for the Saturn-mass exoplanet WASP-39b obtained with JWST NIRSpec G395H. Our observations achieve 1.46 X photon precision, providing an average transit depth uncertainty of 221 ppm per spectroscopic bin, and present minimal impacts from systematic effects. We detect significant absorption from CO (28.5σ) and H O (21.5σ), and identify SO2 as the source of absorption at 4.1µm (4.8σ). Best-fit atmospheric models range between 3 X and 10 X solar metallicity, with sub-solar to solar C/O ratios. These results, including the detection of SO2, underscore the importance of characterising the chemistry in exoplanet atmospheres, and showcase NIRSpec G395H as an excellent mode for time series observations over this critical wavelength range10.

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