The James Webb Space Telescope has captured mind-blowing images since its launch. One of the best was published this same month of November in WebbTelescope.org. It is a protostar reflecting a cosmic “hourglass”. You can now download it to make it your wallpaper.
Thanks to photography by James Webb, we can now take a look at the dark cloud L1527. Here a protostar barely 100,000 years old is embedded. The image has been captured with the NIRCam instrument (Near Infrared Camera) of the space telescope. In this way, it is shown how the protostar illuminates the body of the nebula with infrared light, offering an impressive and almost artificial vision.
Due to the infrared nature of light, this vision is only possible with cameras that can see in this spectrum. This means that if we were to go out into space and try to look at this same picture, we would find something totally different. For this reason, the infrared cameras of the James Webb are of great importance. They allow us to see and study celestial objects that we could not otherwise.
On the neck of the hourglass, we can see the protoplanetary disk. It is a disk of gas and dust surrounding the protostar. This area will later become a solar system with planets and other celestial bodies inside.
The James Webb reveals more information about this interesting nebula
As the star grows and absorbs material from the nebula, it also expels it. A) Yes, the cavities that we see in the image have been generatedas material expands through space and collides with surrounding matter.
The colors in the image also have meaning. As they explain on the telescope website, “colors are due to layers of dust between the Webb and the clouds“. Blue are the areas where the dust is thinnest. The greatest concentrations of material are those that leak this color, creating large orange pockets in the nebula.
In addition, the James Webb has also revealed filaments of molecular hydrogen that have suffered shocks when the protostar ejects material. These shocks inhibit the possible formation of new stars which, otherwise, would have formed throughout the length and breadth of the cloud. Now, the protostar dominates the entire area, taking most of the material.
L1527 still is in the earliest stage in the life of a forming star. He still has a long way to go before he emerges from his cocoon of dust and becomes a full-fledged star. It cannot yet generate its own power through nuclear hydrogen fusion, a requirement for any star.
If you want to get an idea of the scale of the elements in the image, keep in mind that the small protoplanetary disk It is about the size of our solar system.. In this way, we are taking a look back at our own system during its infancy. Little by little, the material in the disk will become more concentrated, giving rise to planets and other celestial bodies.