James Webb Space Telescope Captures Star Formation In Great Detail

James Webb Space Telescope Captures Star Formation In Great Detail
Photo Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI.

James Webb Space Telescope has done it yet again. The space observatory has captured a mind-bending image that has left astronomers in awe. As per NASA’s blog post, the telescope leveraged its Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) to capture the "once-hidden features" of star formation.


Dubbed “protostars,” these celestial objects are found inside a "dark nebula" cloud and are yet to become stars. In simple words, James Webb has captured the birth of a star. The space agency notes, the upcoming star is hidden in the “neck” disk of the hourglass shape in the image, which is "about the size of our solar system."

James Webb At It Again

While this isn’t the first time space telescopes have observed star birth, JWST’s latest image offers a detailed look at the spectacular phenomenon.

"The surrounding molecular cloud is made up of dense dust and gas being drawn to the center, where the protostar resides," the post reads. "As the material falls in, it spirals around the center. This creates a dense disk of material, known as an accretion disk, which feeds material to the protostar."

NASA says some of the materials are "filaments of molecular hydrogen that have been shocked as the protostar ejects material away from it."

It continues to eat up that material, growing in size and further compressing to a point its core temperature is high enough to kickstart nuclear fusion. This breathtaking look at the process of star birth is nothing short of extraordinary, and yet again shows what James Webb Space Telescope is capable of doing.

Pillars Of Creation

Previously, the JWST captured one of the most beautiful sights in the cosmos -- “Pillars of Creation.” The image gives a detailed look at the cool, dense clouds of hydrogen gas and dust. These “Pillars of Creation” are located around 6,500 light-years away in the Serpens constellation.

The legendary Hubble Space Telescope also captured the phenomenon in 1995 and 2014. However, JWST’s image offered a whole new perspective that will pave the way for scientists to observe these gaseous clouds in detail.

These pillars are located at the center of Messier 16 (M16), also known as, the eagle Nebula. Stars are said to take birth in this region. JWST used its infrared detectors to look past the light-scattering effects of the dust around the pillars, which allowed it to observe star formation activities.

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