Amid the estimated 500 000 stars in the image is a cluster of protostars - stars that are still forming and gaining mass - producing outflows that glow like a bonfire in the midst of an infrared-dark cloud. At the heart of this young cluster is a previously known, massive protostar over 30 times the mass of our Sun.
The cloud the protostars are emerging from is so dense that the light from stars behind it cannot reach Webb, making it appear less crowded when in fact it is one of the most densely packed areas of the image. Smaller infrared-dark clouds dot the image, looking like holes in the starfield. That's where future stars are forming.
Webb's NIRCam (Near-Infrared Camera) instrument also captured large-scale emission from ionised hydrogen surrounding the lower side of the dark cloud, shown cyan-coloured in the image. Typically, this is the result of energetic photons being emitted by young massive stars, but the vast extent of the region shown by Webb is something of a surprise that bears further investigation. Another feature of the region that Crowe plans to examine further is the needle-like structures in the ionised hydrogen, which appear oriented chaotically in many directions.
Around 25 000 light-years from Earth, the galactic centre is close enough to study individual stars with the Webb telescope, allowing astronomers to gather unprecedented information on how stars form, and how this process may depend on the cosmic environment, especially compared to other regions of the galaxy. For example, are more massive stars formed in the centre of the Milky Way, as opposed to the edges of its spiral arms?
Full Caption: In a field crowded with stars, a funnel-shaped region of space appears darker than its surroundings with fewer stars. It is wider at the top edge of the image, narrowing towards the bottom. Toward the narrow end of this dark region a small clump of red and white appears to shoot out streamers upward and left. A large, bright cyan-coloured area surrounds the lower portion of the funnel-shaped dark area, forming a rough U shape. The cyan-coloured area has needle-like, linear structures and becomes more diffuse in the center of the image. The right side of the image is dominated by clouds of orange and red, with a purple haze.
|Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters|
NASA awards $2.3 million to study growing food in lunar dust
U.S. and Saudi Arabia explore space for peaceful purposes
Earth bacteria could make lunar soil more habitable for plants
Big bang: Dutch firm eyes space baby
NASA, small companies eye new cargo delivery, heat shield technologies
Ariane 6 Core Stage fires up for long-duration test
Boosting rocket reliability at the material level
Heat Shield demo passes the test dubbed 'Just flawless'
Farewell, Solar Conjunction 2023: Sols 4023-4024
California lawmakers ask NASA not to cut Mars budget
Was There Life on Mars
Perseverance's Parking Spot
China's Lunar Samples on Display in Macao to Inspire Future Explorers
China Manned Space Agency Delegation Highlights SARs' Role in Space Program
Shanghai Sets Sights on Expanding Space Industry with Ambitious 2025 Goals
Wenchang Set to Become China's Premier Commercial Space Launch Hub by Next Year
SpaceX launches more Starlink satellites from Cape Canaveral|
Instruments led by IRF selected for ESA potential future mission to either Mars or Earth's Orbit
A major boost for space skills and research in North East England
Ovzon and SSC close to sealing satellite communication contract worth $10M
China launches tech-experiment satellite
A satellite's death spiral
Beyond Gravity unveils reusable payload fairing concept
Tackling the Growing Challenge of Space Debris
First extragalactic exoplanet disc spotted outside of the Milky Way
Deformable Mirrors in Space: Key Technology to Directly Image Earth Twins
Alien haze, cooked in a lab, clears view to distant water worlds
Astronomers find 'tilted' planets even in pristine solar systems
Unwrapping Uranus and its icy moon secrets
Juice burns hard towards first-ever Earth-Moon flyby
Fall into an ice giant's atmosphere
Juno finds Jupiter's winds penetrate in cylindrical layers
|Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters|