JAMES WEBB TELESCOPE UNVEILS CLOSE-UP ON BIRTH OF SUN-LIKE STARS
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 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.
“With a year of science under our belts, we know exactly how powerful this telescope is, and have delivered a year of spectacular data and discoveries,” said Webb Senior Project Scientist Jane Rigby of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. “We’ve selected an ambitious set of observations for year two — that builds on everything we’ve learned so far. Webb’s science mission is just getting started — there’s so much more to come.”
(Source: NASA – Image: 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/NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, Klaus Pontoppidan)