The dense wall of gas and dust resembles a giant winged creature, its glowing master illuminated by a bright star as it passes through cosmic filaments.
On Monday, an international research team released the first images of the Orion Nebula captured by the James Webb Space Telescope, leaving astronomers “confused”.
The star kindergarten It is located in the constellation Orion, 1,350 light-years away from Earth, under conditions similar to those in which our solar system formed more than 4.5 billion years ago.
Astronomers are interested in the region to better understand what happened during the first million years of our planetary evolution.
The images were obtained as part of the Early Release Science program and involved more than 100 scientists in 18 countries, including the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), Western University in Canada and the University of Michigan.
“We were blown away by the breathtaking views of the Orion Nebula,” Western University astrophysicist Els Peters said in a statement.
“These new observations allow us to better understand how massive stars convert gas and dust cloud where they were born,” he added.
The nebulae are shrouded in large amounts of dust, making them impossible to observe with visible light telescopes like Webb’s predecessor, the Hubble Space Telescope.
Webb, however, operates first infrared spectrumpenetrates into the dust.
It revealed many magnificent structures up to the scale of 40 astronomical units, or the size of our solar system.
These include dense matter filaments capable of forming new generations of stars, as well as stellar systems consisting of a central proto-star surrounded by a disk of dust and gas from which planets form.
“We hope to gain an understanding of the entire cycle of star birth,” said Edwin Bergin, chair of astronomy at the University of Michigan and a member of the international research team.
“In this image, we’re looking at this period when the first generation of stars essentially radiates material for the next generation. The incredible structures we observe will detail how the feedback cycle of star birth plays out in our galaxy and beyond.”
Webb is the most powerful space telescope ever built main mirror A 6.5-meter (over 21-foot) five-layer sunshade, also the size of a tennis court, consisting of 18 hexagonal, gold-plated segments.
© 2022 AFP
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