NASA and her partners are celebrating the first year of science from the James Webb Space Telescope with the release of a jaw-dropping close-up on the birth of some Sun-like stars.
The gorgeous shot shows a small star-forming region in the so-called Rho Ophiuchi cloud complex, which lies just 390 light years away from us.
It is this proximity that gives the image its stunning detail — as there are no stars in the foreground to obscure the Webb telescope’s view.
A NASA spokesperson said: “From our cosmic backyard in the solar system to distant galaxies near the dawn of time, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has delivered on its promise of revealing the universe like never before in its first year of science operations.”
The James Webb telescope — named for the second administrator of NASA — was developed in partnership with the European and Canadian space agencies.
READ MORE: Strange new world found 260 light-years from Earth – and scientists are baffled
NASA’s current administrator, Bill Nelson, said: “In just one year, the James Webb Space Telescope has transformed humanity’s view of the cosmos, peering into dust clouds and seeing light from faraway corners of the universe for the very first time.
“Every new image is a new discovery, empowering scientists around the globe to ask and answer questions they once could never dream of.
“Webb is an investment in American innovation but also a scientific feat made possible with NASA’s international partners that share a can-do spirit to push the boundaries of what is known to be possible.
“Thousands of engineers, scientists, and leaders poured their life’s passion into this mission, and their efforts will continue to improve our understanding of the origins of the universe – and our place in it.”
Donut-shaped rock on Mars has space fans convinced there’s life on Red Planet[MARS]
Rocket launch as space mission to probe dark matter begins[SPACE]
Ring-shaped boulder spotted by NASA on Mars has Star Trek fans excited[STAR TREK]
Dr Nicola Fox is a heliophysicist and the associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington.
She commented: “On its first anniversary, the James Webb Space Telescope has already delivered upon its promise to unfold the universe.”
The space-based observatory, she added, has gifted us “with a breathtaking treasure trove of images and science that will last for decades.
“An engineering marvel built by the world’s leading scientists and engineers, Webb has given us a more intricate understanding of galaxies, stars, and the atmospheres of planets outside of our solar system than ever before.”
This, she continued, will lay the groundwork for NASA to lead the world in “a new era of scientific discovery and the search for habitable worlds”.
We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info
In the anniversary image, one can see a region of space containing some 50 young stars, all of which have a similar mass to our very own Sun.
According to NASA, the darker area in the shot are the densest regions of the Rho Ophiuchi nebulae, where so-called protostars are forming in cocoons of dust.
The picture is dominated by huge two-directional jets of molecular hydrogen — represented in red.
These, as NASA floridly puts it, form “when a star first bursts through its natal envelope of cosmic dust, shooting out a pair of opposing jets into space like a newborn first stretching her arms out into the world.”
In the lower half of the image can be seen the only star in the shot that is significantly more massive than the Sun. This body, named S1, has cleared out a void in the surrounding dust.
Dr Klaus Pontoppidan is an astrophysicist and Webb project scientist at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland.
He said: “Webb’s image of Rho Ophiuchi allows us to witness a very brief period in the stellar life cycle with new clarity.
“Our own Sun experienced a phase like this, long ago, and now we have the technology to see the beginning of another’s star’s story.”
According to NASA, some of the stars visible in the image also sport shadows that are indicative of protoplanetary disks — which, as the name suggests, could go on to form alien worlds in the future.
Astrophysicist Dr Jane Rigby of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center added: “With a year of science under our belts, we know exactly how powerful this telescope is, and have delivered a year of spectacular data and discoveries,”
“We’ve selected an ambitious set of observations for year two — that builds on everything we’ve learned so far.”
She concluded: “Webb’s science mission is just getting started — there’s so much more to come!”
Follow our social media accounts on https://www.facebook.com/ExpressUSNews and @ExpressUSNews
Source: Read Full Article