James Webb Space Telescope Feed Post

Date: 6/10/2024

Harvard ADS: Sulfur Dioxide and Other Molecular Species in the Atmosphere of the Sub-Neptune GJ 3470 b

Paper abstract: We report observations of the atmospheric transmission spectrum of the sub-Neptune exoplanet GJ 3470 b taken using the Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) on JWST. Combined with two archival HST/WFC3 transit observations and fifteen archival Spitzer transit observations, we detect water, methane, sulfur dioxide, and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of GJ 3470 b, each with a significance of >3-sigma. GJ 3470 b is the lowest mass -- and coldest -- exoplanet known to show a substantial sulfur dioxide feature in its spectrum, at M_{p}=11.2{\,{\rm M}_{\oplus}} and T_{eq}=600\,K. This indicates disequilibrium photochemistry drives sulfur dioxide production in exoplanet atmospheres over a wider range of masses and temperatures than has been reported or expected. The water, carbon dioxide, and sulfur dioxide abundances we measure indicate an atmospheric metallicity of approximately 100\times Solar. We see further evidence for disequilibrium chemistry in our inferred methane abundance, which is significantly lower than expected from equilibrium models consistent with our measured water and carbon dioxide abundances.