NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day 24 January 2023: Webb's exoplanet discovery generated by AI | Tech News

NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day 24 January 2023: Webb's exoplanet discovery generated by AI

NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day is a stunning AI-generated picture of an exoplanet named LHS 475 b.

| Updated on: Jan 24 2023, 13:23 IST
Top astronomy photos of the week by NASA: Galaxy wars, Nebula, Moon to Sun, check them out
NASA Exoplanet LHS 475 b
1/6 On January 14, NASA released an image of Perihelion Sun 2023, the image was taken after January 4, at the Earth's closest approach to the Sun. It was taken less than 24 hours after the earth's close approach. (Peter Ward (Barden Ridge Observatory))
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2/6 On January 15, another photograph was released of The Crab Nebula snapped by the Hubble Space Telescope. The Crab Nebula, the result of a supernova seen in 1054 AD, is filled with mysterious filaments. ( NASA, ESA, Hubble, J. Hester, A. Loll (ASU))
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3/6 On January 17, the image of unexpected clouds toward the Andromeda Galaxy was released. (Yann Sainty & Marcel Drechsler)
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4/6 Image of MACS0647: Gravitational Lensing of the Early Universe Captured by James Webb Space Telescope was released by NASA on January 18. ( NASA, ESA, CSA, Dan Coe (STScI), Rebecca Larson (UT), Yu-Yang Hsiao (JHU); Processing: Alyssa Pagan (STScI); Text: Michael Rutkowski (Minn. St. U. Mankato))
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5/6 On January 19, the image of The Seagull Nebula was released. The complex of gas and dust clouds with other stars of the Canis Majoris OB1 association spans over 200 light-years. (Carlos Taylor)
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6/6 Galaxy Wars: M81 and M82, this image was released on January 20. On the right, with grand spiral arms and bright yellow core is spiral galaxy M81.  (Andreas Aufschnaiter)
NASA Exoplanet LHS 475 b
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Exoplanet LHS 475 b revolves around a dwarf red star located nearly 40 light-years away. (NASA/DeepAI Fantasy World Generator)

Humans have been on the hunt for an Earth-like planet for years. The space race has led mankind to the Moon, Mars and even the outer solar system. Space agencies like NASA, ISRO, CNSA and ESA use their extensive resources to search for potential planets which could support life one day should the need to ever leave Earth arise. Although there are more planets in the Universe than you could ever imagine, only a handful of them have the potential to support life one day.

To search for habitable planets which could potentially support life, NASA launched its Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) on April 18, 2018. TESS is an all-sky survey mission that will discover thousands of exoplanets around nearby bright stars. NASA's James Webb Space Telescope has also recently discovered its first Earth-sized exoplanet, LHS 475 b, after studying the data collected by TESS about various exoplanets.

NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a special one today. That is because it isn't a real image captured by an astrophotographer, but an AI generated picture of the Earth-sized exoplanet LHS 475 b created using DeepAI's Fantasy World Generator. Although LHS 475 b is closer to its star than any planet in our solar system, its red dwarf star is less than half the temperature of the Sun, so the researchers project it still could have an atmosphere.

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NASA's explanation

If you could stand on exoplanet LHS 475 b, what might you see? No one knows for sure but pictured here is an interesting guess made by an Earth-based artificial intelligence (AI) engine. The existence of the exoplanet was indicated in data taken by the Earth-orbiting TESS satellite but confirmed and further investigated only this year by the near-Earth Sun-orbiting James Webb Space Telescope. What is known for sure is that LHS 475 b has a mass very similar to our Earth and closely orbits a small red star about 40 light years away.

The featured AI-illustrated guess depicts a plausibly rugged Earth-like landscape replete with molten lava and with the central red star rising in the distance. Webb data does not as yet reveal, however, whether LHS 475 b has an atmosphere. One of Webb's science objectives is to follow up previous discoveries of distant exoplanets to better discern their potential for developing life.

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First Published Date: 24 Jan, 13:22 IST