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NIRISS – Canada's exoplanet specialist on the James Webb Space Telescope

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Uploaded on December 31, 2021

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NIRISS – Canada's exoplanet specialist on the James Webb Space Telescope

2021-12-31 – The James Webb Space Telescope will be the most important space observatory of the next decade, serving astronomers from all over the world. One of the two Canadian elements on the James Webb Space Telescope, the Near-Infrared Imager and Slitless Spectrograph (NIRISS), was designed specifically to study the starlight streaming through exoplanet atmospheres and determine their composition.

(Credits: Canadian Space Agency, NASA)

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Canada’s exoplanet specialist on the James Webb Space Telescope

NIRISS: Near-Infrared Imager and Slitless Spectrograph

NIRISS is designed to help astronomers hunt for exoplanets and study their atmospheres in a search for life beyond our solar system.

DETECTION

Gathers real images of distant solar systems to discover exoplanets.

OBSERVATION

Closely monitors exoplanets as they pass in front of their host stars, to gather the spectrum of light that filters through their atmosphere.

ANALYSIS

Helps determine an exoplanet’s potential for life by revealing the presence of oxygen, carbon dioxide, or methane.

What can NIRISS reveal about exoplanets?

• composition
• temperature
• habitability
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