NASA has revealed a stunning photo of the cosmic cradle where stars are born

Dmytro IvancheskulLife
NASA telescope peered into the cosmic cradle. Source: NASA/collage OBOZREVATEL

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has managed to photograph the star-forming region, the Rho Ophiuchi cloud complex. JWST managed to show the galactic "cradle" as no one on Earth has seen it before.

The photo was published by NASA on Wednesday, July 12, on the occasion of the first anniversary of the Webb telescope observations (to see the photo make the news until the end).

Rho Ophiuchi is the closest region to Earth where new stars are born. It's only 390 light-years away. It is usually relatively calm, but JWST has managed to show the cosmic chaos going on during the birth of new stars.

"The image of Rho Ophiuchi obtained by JWST allows us to see a very short period in the life cycle of a star with new clarity," commented on the photo JWST project scientist Klaus Pontoppidan from the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, USA.

He noted that a very long time ago a similar phase experienced and our Sun.

As explained in NASA, Webb's image shows a region containing about 50 young stars that are similar in mass to our Sun or smaller than it.

The darker areas in the photo show thick dust cocoons where protostars are still forming.

The huge red bipolar jets of molecular hydrogen, which are the largest in the image, occur when Dawn first bursts through its natal shell of cosmic dust, shooting a pair of opposing jets out into space.

"Like a newborn baby reaching out to the world for the first time," NASA noted.

In contrast, star S1, located just below the center of the image in a bright "cave" of dust, is the only star in the image that is significantly more massive than our sun.

The beginnings of a protoplanetary disk of gas and dust, from which planets will later form, can also be seen as shadows around some of the young blue stars.

NASA says this photo demonstrates just how promising JWST is and how much more unseen it can reveal to humans as it begins its second year of operation.

"In just one year, the James Webb Space Telescope has changed humanity's view of the cosmos by peering into dust clouds and seeing light from the farthest reaches of the universe for the first time," NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in a statement.

He said, "Each new image is a new discovery that allows scientists around the world to ask and answer questions they couldn't even dream of before."


Rho Ophiuchi star formation region in the JWST lens.

Earlier OBOZREVATEL also told about the fact that NASA managed to photograph the consequences of one of the most powerful explosions in the universe.

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