An exceptional photo from space
image from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) released by NASA and STScl,
James Webb has again sent us exceptional images of beauty and realism with a huge hourglass-shaped dust cloud around a forming star.
Since the dawn of time, it was impossible to see these orange and blue clouds, made visible by the telescope’s NIRCam instrument, which operates in the near-infrared – a wavelength invisible to the human eye.
The star had been named “protostar L1527” and is located in the constellation Taurus, it is hidden in darkness by the edge of a rotating disk of gas at the neck of the hourglass.
However, light from this protostar “leaks” above and below this disk, illuminating cavities in the surrounding gas and dust, NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) explained in a joint statement.
In fact, clouds are made of matter ejected from the star that collides with the surrounding case. The dust is thinner in the blue parts and thicker in the orange slices.
It is a recent star aged only 100,000 years; the protostar is in the earliest stage of its formation. It is not yet able to generate its energy.
A black disk surrounding it, whose size is about that of our solar system, will feed the protostar with materials until it reaches “the threshold necessary to start nuclear fusion,” said NASA and ESA.
“Ultimately, this view of L1527 provides a window into what our Sun and the solar system looked like in their early days,” the two agencies added.
The shot taken by James Webb is a molecular cloud in Taurus, located about 430 light-years from Earth, which is a stellar nursery housing hundreds of nearly formed stars.
The telescope, whose first color images were unveiled in July, conducts its observations at 1.5 million kilometers from Earth.
James Webb is worth 10 billion USD to study the life cycle of stars.