The newest space telescope on the cluster has spotted a glowing cosmic hourglass filled with vibrant colors and a budding star, or protostar, hiding in its heart.
The fiery formation within Taurus star– The formation region and the protostar within it are hidden from view of telescopes by a dense, dark cloud of gas and dust known as L1527. The formation is only visible in infrared light, making it an excellent target for the near infrared camera (NIRCam) on board. James Webb Space Telescope (Web or JWST).
Astronomers hope that examining the cosmic hourglass will help shed light on the processes occurring around the protostar, which itself is hidden from view at the neck of formation. The observations could also help explain how infant stars reach adulthood, according to A statement of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Maryland, which operates the telescope.
The protostar inside L1527 and the cause of these turbulent conditions is only 100,000 years old, and is just a baby in cosmological terms. Its young age and infrared brightness make L1527 what astronomers call a 0-magnitude protostar, which marks the first stage of star formation. Still trapped inside the clouds of gas and dust from which they form, Class 0 protostars like this are still some way off from becoming full-fledged stars.
Currently, the shape of a protostar is mostly spherical but still unstable, and it will look like a small, hot, “bulging” gas block with a mass of between 40% and 20% of its mass. the sun.
While obscuring the protostar, the image reveals a protoplanetary disk of gas and dust around the star, which appears as a dark line across the neck of the hourglass. This structure forms when material is pulled into the center of the hourglass, allowing the protostar to feed on from the disk, which is about the size of Solar System.
As the infant star gathers mass to grow in size, matter will also compress the star, raising the temperature and pressure in the core enough to initiate nuclear fusion. Fusion converts hydrogen in the star’s core into helium, generating energy, and the moment is a key step in the star’s evolution.
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Even when much of the material surrounding the protostar has been fed in, allowing it to accumulate mass, the JWST image also shows filaments of molecular hydrogen being struck by material blasted off by the central protostar. This turbulence removes gas and dust – the raw material for stars – and thus prevents other stars from being born around the protostar, allowing it to effectively dominate this region of space.
Astronomers know without seeing the protostar that it is present in one of the most controversial aspects of the image, the massive hourglass shape itself. As light from the protostar leaks up and down the protoplanetary disk, it illuminates cavities in the surrounding gas and dust created by the growing star.
These empty lobes delineate blue and orange clouds, with a blue representation of regions where the dust is thinner, and orange markings where it is at its thickest. Astronomers identified these colors because the thicker the dust, the more blue light it traps, creating pockets of orange.
Moreover, within the dark disk at the core of the cosmic hourglass, material clumps into pockets dense enough to eventually form planets. This means that the new view of L1527 provides a cosmic window through which we can look back, observing what the sun and our planetary system might have looked like during their formation stages more than 4.5 billion years ago.
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