The JWST’s size and sensitivity enabled it to collect more light from this planet than any previous observatory has obtained. (Its photo looks grainier than SPHERE’s only because the JWST observes longer, infrared wavelengths.) This allowed Hinkley, Biller and their team to refine the estimate of the planet’s mass, which they peg at about seven Jupiter masses, less than SPHERE’s estimate of about 10. Their results also help nail down the planet’s radius, which is 1.4 times that of Jupiter. Simple models of planetary evolution can’t easily explain this world’s combination of properties; Carter noted that the precise new data will allow scientists to test models against each other and “tighten our understanding.”
HIP 65426 b’s surface features aren’t visible in the image, but Biller said it would “probably look banded” like Jupiter, with belts caused by variations in temperature and composition, and might have spots in its atmosphere caused by storms or vortices.
The giant planet is inhospitable to life as we