NASA Space Telescope Reveals Celestial Hourglass Formed By Embryonic Star | Room
The James Webb space telescope has unveiled its latest image of celestial majesty, an ethereal hourglass of orange and blue dust streaked from a newly formed star at its center.
The colorful clouds are only visible in infrared light, so had never been seen before being captured by Webb’s Near-Infrared Camera (Nircam), NASA and the European Room agency said in a statement on Wednesday.
The very young star, known as protostar L1527, is obscured in the dark by the edge of a rotating disk of gas at the hourglass’s neck.
However, light is coming from the top and bottom of the disc, lighting up the hourglass-shaped clouds.
The clouds are created by material ejected from the star colliding with surrounding matter, the statement said. The dust is thinnest in the blue parts and thickest in the orange parts, he added.
The protostar, which is only 100,000 years old and in the earliest stage of star formation, is not yet able to generate its own energy.
The surrounding black disk, which is about the size of our solar system, will carry material toward the protostar until it eventually “reaches the threshold at which nuclear fusion can begin,” the statement said.
“Ultimately, this image of L1527 offers a glimpse into what our sun and solar system looked like in their infancy,” it added.
The protostar resides in the Taurus molecular cloud, a stellar nursery for hundreds of nearly formed stars about 430 light-years from Earth.
Webb has been operational since July and is the most powerful space telescope ever built unleashed a wealth of unprecedented data and stunning visuals. Scientists hope it will usher in a new era of discovery.
One of the main goals of the $10 billion telescope is to study the life cycle of stars. Another major research focus is on exoplanets, planets beyond Earth’s solar system.
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