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Image from NASA’s Webb telescope reveals early star formation in a ‘rare’ find

Webb Space Telescope allows us to
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The James Webb Space Telescope The team announced Thursday that scientists had discovered dozens of energetic jets and outflows from young stars previously hidden by dust clouds in one of the iconic early images of the $10 billion-dollar observatory.

In a statement, NASA said the “rare” find, including a paper published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society this month, marks the beginning of a new era in the investigation of star formation, as well as how the radiation from nearby massive stars. could affect the development of the planets.

The cosmic cliffs of the Carina NebulaInside star cluster NGC 3324, seen in a new wavelength with Webb and the telescope’s capabilities allow researchers to track the movement of other features previously captured by the Hubble Space Telescope.

By analyzing data from a specific wavelength of infrared light, the astronomers discovered two dozen previously unknown outflows of extremely young stars revealed by molecular hydrogen.

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Dozens of previously hidden jets and outflows from young stars are revealed in this new image of Cosmic Cliffs from the Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam) on NASA's James Webb Space Telescope.  This image separates several wavelengths of light from the First Image revealed on July 12, 2022, which highlights molecular hydrogen, a vital ingredient for star formation.  The insets on the right side highlight three regions of the Cosmic Cliffs with particularly active outflows of molecular hydrogen.  In this image, red, green, and blue were mapped to Webb's NIRCam data at 4.7, 4.44, and 1.87 microns (F470N, F444W, and F187N filters, respectively).

Dozens of previously hidden jets and outflows from young stars are revealed in this new image of Cosmic Cliffs from the Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam) on NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. This image separates several wavelengths of light from the First Image revealed on July 12, 2022, which highlights molecular hydrogen, a vital ingredient for star formation. The insets on the right side highlight three regions of the Cosmic Cliffs with particularly active outflows of molecular hydrogen. In this image, red, green, and blue were mapped to Webb’s NIRCam data at 4.7, 4.44, and 1.87 microns (F470N, F444W, and F187N filters, respectively).
(Credits: NASA, ESA, CSA and STScI. Image processing: J. DePasquale (STScI).)

Molecular hydrogen is a vital ingredient in star formation and a good way to trace the early stages of that process.

“As young stars accumulate material from the gas and dust around them, most also eject a fraction of that material from their polar regions in jets and outflows. These jets act like a snowplow, sweeping away the surrounding environment. Visible in Webb’s observations is molecular hydrogen being swept up and excited by these jets,” NASA explained.

Objects discovered: including “tiny fountains” and “bubbling giants that extend light-years from forming stars.”

Image of the Cosmic Cliffs, a region at the edge of a gigantic gas cavity within NGC 3324, captured by Webb's Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam), with compass arrows, scale bar, and color key for reference.  The north and east compass arrows show the orientation of the image in the sky.  Note that the relationship between north and east in the sky (viewed from below) is reversed relative to directional arrows on a ground map (viewed from above).  The scale bar is labeled in light years, which is the distance light travels in one Earth year.  Light takes 2 years to travel a distance equal to the length of the rod.  One light year is equal to about 5.88 trillion miles or 9.46 trillion kilometers.  This image shows invisible wavelengths of near-infrared light that have been translated into colors of visible light.  The color key shows which NIRCam filters were used when collecting the light.  The color of each filter name is the color of visible light that is used to represent the infrared light that passes through that filter.  Webb's NIRCam was built by a team from the University of Arizona and Lockheed Martin's Center for Advanced Technology.

Image of the Cosmic Cliffs, a region at the edge of a gigantic gas cavity within NGC 3324, captured by Webb’s Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam), with compass arrows, scale bar, and color key for reference. The north and east compass arrows show the orientation of the image in the sky. Note that the relationship between north and east in the sky (viewed from below) is reversed relative to directional arrows on a ground map (viewed from above). The scale bar is labeled in light years, which is the distance light travels in one Earth year. Light takes 2 years to travel a distance equal to the length of the rod. One light year is equal to about 5.88 trillion miles or 9.46 trillion kilometers. This image shows invisible wavelengths of near-infrared light that have been translated into colors of visible light. The color key shows which NIRCam filters were used when collecting the light. The color of each filter name is the color of visible light that is used to represent the infrared light that passes through that filter. Webb’s NIRCam was built by a team from the University of Arizona and Lockheed Martin’s Center for Advanced Technology.
(IMAGE: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI)

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Previous observations of jets and outflows mainly observed nearby regions and more evolved objects that are already detectable at Hubble wavelengths.

“Webb’s unmatched sensitivity enables observations of more distant regions, while its infrared optimization probes the youngest stages of dust sampling. Together, this provides astronomers with an unprecedented view of environments resembling the birthplace of our planet. solar system,” the agency said.

What looks a lot like jagged mountains on a moonlit night is actually the edge of a nearby young star-forming region NGC 3324 in the Carina Nebula.  Captured in infrared light by the Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam) on NASA's James Webb Space Telescope, this image reveals previously obscured areas of star birth.

What looks a lot like jagged mountains on a moonlit night is actually the edge of a nearby young star-forming region NGC 3324 in the Carina Nebula. Captured in infrared light by the Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam) on NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, this image reveals previously obscured areas of star birth.
(NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI)

Many of these protostars will become low-mass stars, like the sun.

This period of star formationNASA added, it is particularly difficult to capture because it is relatively fleeting.

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Webb’s observations also help astronomers shed light on how active star-forming regions are.

By comparing the position of previously known outflows in this region with Hubble data from 16 years ago, the scientists were able to track the speed and direction in which the jets are moving.

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