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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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.”
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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.
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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