Podcast: More on the James Webb Space Telescope

Image (Credit): Alan Alda’s podcast Clear & Vivid (Amazon)

I wanted to highlight another astronomy interview from Alan Alda’s Clear+Vivid podcast, in this case involving a mother and daughter team. Astronomers Natalie and Natasha Batalha discuss “Looking for Life on Alien Worlds” using the new James Webb Space Telescope. The two guests discuss upcoming efforts to better understand the 5,000+ planets that have already been discovered. One of their favorites among the exoplanet systems is the TRAPPIST-1 system, noting the parent red star is about the size of Jupiter. This small star has seven exoplanets, with the “Goldilocks zone” being much closer in than is the case in our system.

NASA describes one of the exoplanets in the “Goldilocks zone,” TRAPPIST-1d, in this way:

TRAPPIST-1d is one of seven Earth-sized planets in the TRAPPIST-1 system. About 40 light-years from Earth, TRAPPIST-1 is unusual both for its number of small rocky planets and the number in the habitable zone. Several of the artist’s illustrationsportray possible water or ice in the system– the proximity of the planets to their red dwarf star may indicate that any of them could have water on their surface. This artist’s concept shows TRAPPIST-1d with a narrow band of water near the terminator, the divide between a hot, dry day and an ice-covered night side.

You can read more about the TRAPPIST-1 system here.

Image (Credit): Artist’s image of exoplanet TRAPPIST-1d. (NASA)