The Webb Telescope captures a cluster of young stars in the center of the Milky Way

The Webb Telescope captures a cluster of young stars in the center of the Milky Way

NASA said Monday that the James Webb Space Telescope has captured an image of the Milky Way’s dense center, a chaotic region in space.

The image shows Sagittarius C, a star-forming region about 300 light-years from the Milky Way’s central supermassive black hole, Sagittarius A. Shown in the image are about 500,000 stars, including a cluster of young stars that are still forming, known as asterisms. Primary. Protostars, which are still gaining mass, “glow like a bonfire in the middle of a dark infrared cloud,” according to NASA.

“There’s never been any infrared data in this region at the level of resolution and sensitivity that we get with Webb, so we’re seeing a lot of features here for the first time,” said Samuel Crowe, lead researcher on the observing team. “Webb reveals an incredible amount of detail, allowing us to study star formation in this type of environment in a way that was not possible before.”

What’s in James Webb’s new photo?

One of the small stars captured by the Webb telescope is a protostar with a mass more than 30 times the mass of the Sun.

A dense cloud blocks light from reaching Webb, making the region of space shown in the image appear less crowded than it actually is.

A cluster of protostars produces streams that glow like fire at the base of the large, dark-infrared cloud.

NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, Samuel Crowe (UVA)


“There are magnetized and turbulent gas clouds that form stars, which then influence the surrounding gas with their flowing winds, jets and radiation,” said Rubén Fedriani, a co-researcher on the project at the Andalusian Astrophysical Institute in Spain. .

A previously invisible region of ionized hydrogen gas wraps around a dense cloud of dust in the image, according to NASA. The space agency described “needle-like structures” in ionized hydrogen. They seem to be chaotically directed in many directions. Crowe plans to examine it further in future studies.

“Massive stars are factories that produce heavy elements in their nuclear cores, so understanding them better is like knowing the origin story of much of the universe,” Crowe said.

What do scientists hope to learn from the Space Zone?

The region, about 25,000 light-years from Earth, contains a galactic center close enough for astronomers to study individual stars with the help of the Webb telescope. NASA said it will give scientists access to unprecedented information about how stars form.

“The galactic center is the most extreme environment in our Milky Way Galaxy, where current theories about star formation can be put to the most stringent test,” said Jonathan Tan, a professor in the Department of Astronomy at the University of Virginia and one of Crow’s advisors. .

(Marks for translation) James Webb Space Telescope

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