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Webb telescope captures vibrant star formation

Webb telescope captures vibrant star formation

Vibrant Star

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has captured a stunning image of a young protostar forming within the dark molecular cloud L1527. The image, taken with Webb’s Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI), reveals a vibrant hourglass-shaped structure approximately 460 light-years away in the constellation Taurus. The protostar, about 100,000 years old, is seen gathering material from its surrounding gas and dust.

The varying colors in the image indicate different interactions with the molecular cloud.

Bright regions are a result of energetic outflows that interact with the surrounding matter, causing the regions above and below the protostar to glow. Blue areas in the image denote regions filled with carbonaceous molecules known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), while red regions at the center indicate a dense, energized layer of gas and dust around the protostar.

A white region situated directly above and below the protostar is a mix of hydrocarbons, ionized gas, and thick dust.

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Webb unveils young star dynamics

As the protostar continues to grow, it will eventually expel and consume the surrounding gas and dust, leading the vibrant structures observed today to dissipate.

Once it has accumulated sufficient mass, the young star will become visible, marking the end of its dynamic formation phase. The James Webb Space Telescope, launched on December 25, 2021, is designed to observe the universe in infrared wavelengths. Its capabilities allow for unprecedented resolution and sensitivity, making it possible to explore star formation processes and other cosmic phenomena in detail.

This new image not only celebrates the ongoing discoveries made possible by Webb but also brings to light the intricate and beautiful processes that give rise to new stars, enriching our understanding of the cosmos. The James Webb Space Telescope continues to solve mysteries within our solar system and beyond, probing the origins of the universe and our place in it. Webb is an international collaboration led by NASA, along with its partners, the European Space Agency (ESA) and Canadian Space Agency (CSA).

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