James Webb Space Telescope reveals rich chemistry of planet-forming disks for the 1st time

"In August 2022, Webb imaged a distant star GW Lup in a cluster of stars and gas called Lupus 1. Astronomers studying the star's spectra found that the disk around it is warm but dry, which means it displays very weak water signals. "While we clearly detected molecules containing carbon and oxygen, there is much less water present than expected," Sierra Grant, a postdoc at the Max Planck Institute for extraterrestrial Physics in Germany and the lead author of one of the latest studies, said in a statement(opens in new tab). Grant's team for the first time detected a rare and slightly heavier version of carbon dioxide in a star's disk. The molecule's presence indicates that there is abundant carbon dioxide hidden deep inside the disk that Webb can't see yet, the authors wrote in their study(opens in new tab)."

My note. Observations like this by JWST indicate these discs seen around some red dwarfs lack water. Exoplanets postulated to evolve around red dwarfs could be much drier than thought.

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