Wednesday, July 12, 2023


 Hey, Space Placers! 

A star shines at the center of a glowing yellow cloud at left, while dark clouds and red dust shadow the right side of the image. A star at the upper right appears to have dark wings. At the bottom edge, right of center, two stars shine in the darkness.

From NASA: The first anniversary image from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope displays star birth like its never been seen before, full of detailed, impressionistic texture. The subject is the Rho Ophiuchi cloud complex, the closest star-forming region to Earth. It is a relatively small, quiet stellar nursery, but you’d never know it from Webb’s chaotic close-up. Jets bursting from young stars crisscross the image, impacting the surrounding interstellar gas and lighting up molecular hydrogen, shown in red. Some stars display the telltale shadow of a circumstellar disk, the makings of future planetary systems. 

The young stars at the center of many of these disks are similar in mass to the Sun, or smaller. The heftest in this image is the star S1, which appears amid a glowing cave it is carving out with its stellar winds in the lower half of the image. The lighter-colored gas surrounding S1 consists of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, a family of carbon-based molecules that are among the most common compounds found in space. 

For more detail on what is happening where in Webb’s image of Rho Ophiuchi, watch the video tour and read the press release.

Read this excellent article for more background and information.

Looking forward to year TWO of JWST Science!

Sky Guy in VA

z >< C,

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