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Identification of carbon dioxide in an exoplanet atmosphere

Ahrer, Eva-Maria; Wheatley, Peter J.; Alderson, Lili; Wakeford, Hannah R.; Grant, David; Batalha, Natalie M.; Carter, Aarynn L.; Fortney, Jonathan J.; Mukherjee, Sagnick; Ohno, Kazumasa; Scarsdale, Nicholas; Batalha, Natasha E.; Bean, Jacob L.; Feinstein, Adina D.; Beatty, Thomas G.; Bell, Taylor J.; Benneke, Björn; Piaulet, Caroline; Radica, Michael; Roy, Pierre-Alexis; Taylor, Jake; Coulombe, Louis-Philippe; Berta-Thompson, Zachory K.; Anne Murray, Catriona; Nehring, Molly; Waalkes, William C.; Wachiraphan, Patcharapol; Crossfield, Ian J.M.; Brande, Jonathan; Espinoza, Néstor; Nikolov, Nikolay K.; Dos Santos, Leonardo A.; Valenti, Jeff A.; Espinoza, Néstor; Sing, David K.; Allen, Natalie H.; Fu, Guangwei; Ramos-Rosado, Lakeisha; Gibson, Neale P.; Goyal, Jayesh M.; -R. Kempton, Eliza M.; Fu, Guangwei; Komacek, Thaddeus D.; Kirk, James; López-Morales, Mercedes; Ortiz Ceballos, Kevin; Powell, Diana; Kreidberg, Laura; Molaverdikhani, Karan; Henning, Thomas; Mancini, Luigi; Mikal-Evans, T...

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Eva-Maria Ahrer

Peter J. Wheatley

Lili Alderson

Hannah R. Wakeford

David Grant

Natalie M. Batalha

Aarynn L. Carter

Jonathan J. Fortney

Sagnick Mukherjee

Kazumasa Ohno

Nicholas Scarsdale

Natasha E. Batalha

Jacob L. Bean

Adina D. Feinstein

Thomas G. Beatty

Taylor J. Bell

Björn Benneke

Caroline Piaulet

Michael Radica

Pierre-Alexis Roy

Jake Taylor

Louis-Philippe Coulombe

Zachory K. Berta-Thompson

Catriona Anne Murray

Molly Nehring

William C. Waalkes

Patcharapol Wachiraphan

Ian J.M. Crossfield

Jonathan Brande

Néstor Espinoza

Nikolay K. Nikolov

Leonardo A. Dos Santos

Jeff A. Valenti

Néstor Espinoza

David K. Sing

Natalie H. Allen

Guangwei Fu

Lakeisha Ramos-Rosado

Neale P. Gibson

Jayesh M. Goyal

Eliza M. -R. Kempton

Guangwei Fu

Thaddeus D. Komacek

James Kirk

Mercedes López-Morales

Kevin Ortiz Ceballos

Diana Powell

Laura Kreidberg

Karan Molaverdikhani

Thomas Henning

Luigi Mancini

Thomas Mikal-Evans

Maria E. Steinrueck

Sebastian Zieba

Michael R. Line

Luis Welbanks

Evgenya L. Shkolnik

Joshua D. Lothringer

Sarah E. Moran

Mark S. Marley

Vivien Parmentier

Xianyu Tan

Shang-Min Tsai

Zafar Rustamkulov

David K. Sing

Everett Schlawin

Megan Mansfield

Kevin B. Stevenson

E.M. May

Jacob Lustig-Yaeger

Stephan M. Birkmann

Sarah Kendrew

Nicolas Crouzet

Yamila Miguel

Sebastian Zieba

Patricio E. Cubillos

Luigi Mancini

Mario Damiano

Renyu Hu Tiffany Kataria & Gael M. Roudier

Jean-Michel Désert

Peter Gao

Munazza K. Alam

Anjali A.A. Piette

Johanna K. Teske

Joseph Harrington

Renyu Hu

Heather A. Knutson

Julie Inglis

Jessica J. Spake

Nicole L. Wallack

Pierre-Olivier Lagage

A. García Muñoz

Jérémy Leconte

Monika Lendl

D.J.M. Petit dit de la Roche

Ryan J. MacDonald

Laura Flagg

Yu-Cian Hong

Nikole K. Lewis

Jake D. Turner

Yamila Miguel

Karan Molaverdikhani

Julianne I. Moses

Keivan G. Stassun

Keshav Aggarwal

Agnibha Banerjee

Joanna K. Barstow

Jasmina Blecic

S.L. Casewell

Michael T. Roman

Quentin Changeat

Ingo P. Waldmann

K.L. Chubb

Knicole D. Colón

Avi M. Mandell

Tansu Daylan

Miguel de Val-Borro

Leen Decin

Kevin France

John E. Gizis

Ana Glidden

Benjamin V. Rackham

Kevin Heng

Nicolas Iro

Jessica E. Krick

Elspeth K.H. Lee

Jorge Lillo-Box

Luigi Mancini

Giuseppe Morello

Matthew C. Nixon

Laura K. Rogers

Emily Rauscher

Seth Redfield

Michael T. Roman

Pascal Tremblin

Gregory S. Tucker

Olivia Venot

Xi Zhang


Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a key chemical species that is found in a wide range of planetary atmospheres. In the context of exoplanets, CO2 is an indicator of the metal enrichment (i.e., elements heavier than helium, also called "metallicity"), and thus formation processes of the primary atmospheres of hot gas giants. It is also one of the most promising species to detect in the secondary atmospheres of terrestrial exoplanets. Previous photometric measurements of transiting planets with the Spitzer Space Telescope have given hints of the presence of CO2 but have not yielded definitive detections due to the lack of unambiguous spectroscopic identification. Here we present the detection of CO2 in the atmosphere of the gas giant exoplanet WASP-39b from transmission spectroscopy observations obtained with JWST as part of the Early Release Science Program (ERS). The data used in this study span 3.0 to 5.5 {\mu}m in wavelength and show a prominent CO2 absorption feature at 4.3 {\mu}m (26{\sigma} significance). The overall spectrum is well matched by one-dimensional, 10x solar metallicity models that assume radiative-convective-thermochemical equilibrium and have moderate cloud opacity. These models predict that the atmosphere should have water, carbon monoxide, and hydrogen sulfide in addition to CO2, but little methane. Furthermore, we also tentatively detect a small absorption feature near 4.0 {\mu}m that is not reproduced by these models.


Ahrer, E., Wheatley, P. J., Alderson, L., Wakeford, H. R., Grant, D., Batalha, N. M., …Zhang, X. (2022). Identification of carbon dioxide in an exoplanet atmosphere. Nature, 614, 649-652.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 24, 2022
Publication Date Sep 2, 2022
Publicly Available Date Sep 3, 2023
Journal Nature
Print ISSN 1476-4687
Publisher Nature Publishing Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 614
Pages 649-652
Publisher URL


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