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The White Dwarf Opportunity: Robust Detections of Molecules in Earth-like Exoplanet Atmospheres with the James Webb Space Telescope

  • Authors: Lisa Kaltenegger, Ryan J. MacDonald, Thea Kozakis, Nikole K. Lewis, Eric E. Mamajek, Jonathan C. McDowell, and Andrew Vanderburg

2020 The Astrophysical Journal Letters 901 L1.

  • Provider: AAS Journals

Caption: Figure 1.

Transmission spectroscopy of an Earth-like planet orbiting a white dwarf. Left: transit geometry for an Earth-radius exoplanet in the WD 1856+534 system (observer’s perspective). The WD (white disk), planet (dark gray disk), and planetary atmosphere (blue annulus) are to scale. This geometry has a fractional flux decrement during transit, or transit depth, of ∼50%. Right: corresponding model transmission spectrum and synthetic JWST observations. The high-resolution model (R =  50,000, blue) is binned to a low resolution (R = 100, red) for comparison with simulated JWST NIRSpec Prism observations.

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