Webb: Close-up on Birth of Sun-like Stars

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Webb: Close-up on Birth of Sun-like Stars

Post by bystander » Wed Jul 12, 2023 6:04 pm

Webb Celebrates First Year of Science
with Close-up on Birth of Sun-like Stars

NASA | GSFC | STScI | Webb | ESA Webb | Space Science | 2023 Jul 12
The first anniversary image from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope displays star
birth like it’s never been seen before, full of detailed, impressionistic texture. The
subject is the Rho Ophiuchi cloud complex, the closest star-forming region to Earth.
Credits: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, Klaus Pontoppidan (STScI)

From our cosmic backyard in the solar system to distant galaxies near the dawn of time, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has delivered on its promise of revealing the universe like never before in its first year of science operations. To celebrate the completion of a successful first year, NASA has released Webb’s image of a small star-forming region in the Rho Ophiuchi cloud complex. ...

The new Webb image released today features the nearest star-forming region to us. Its proximity at 390 light-years allows for a highly detailed close-up, with no foreground stars in the intervening space. ...

Webb’s image shows a region containing approximately 50 young stars, all of them similar in mass to the Sun, or smaller. The darkest areas are the densest, where thick dust cocoons still-forming protostars. Huge bipolar jets of molecular hydrogen, represented in red, dominate the image, appearing horizontally across the upper third and vertically on the right. These occur when a star first bursts through its natal envelope of cosmic dust, shooting out a pair of opposing jets into space like a newborn first stretching her arms out into the world. In contrast, the star S1 has carved out a glowing cave of dust in the lower half of the image. It is the only star in the image that is significantly more massive than the Sun. ...

Some stars in the image display tell-tale shadows indicating protoplanetary disks – potential future planetary systems in the making. ...
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