James Webb telescope captures star-formation ballet in the clearest image yet

Jul 28, 2023

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

James Webb telescope captures star-formation ballet in the clearest image yet

Jul 28, 2023

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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webb star formation

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has captured yet another exquisite and scientifically important image. This time, it’s the “antics” of a pair of actively forming young stars known as Herbig-Haro 46/47. Webb used its near-infrared light instrument to get the shot, and this is the most detailed shot of these stars we’ve seen so far.

Herbig-Haro 46/47 are located only 1470 light-years away from Earth, in the constellation Vela. The stars are growing by feeding on a disk of gas and dust. As ESA explains, they’ve been sending out jets in opposite directions for thousands of years. Webb’s recent image is so clear and detailed thanks to the stars’ relative proximity to Earth, but also the combined depth of several exposures.

The stars of this photo (pun intended) are hidden in the center of the image, surrounded by bright orange lobes. This orange glow is the material that the stars spat out while growing. Some jets are larger or faster than others, based on how much material fell onto the stars at different times, as ESA explains.

The image also reveals a dense mix of dust and gas, or a Bok globule, which appears as a blue cloud. This cloud affects the shape of the jets released by the stars, causing them to light up when they interact with the molecules in the cloud.

Though it appears Webb took the image from the side of Herbig-Haro 46/47, one side actually angles slightly toward Earth. “Counterintuitively, it’s the smaller right half,” ESA writes. Over millions of years, these stars will fully form, clearing the way for the beautiful, colorful jets to shine against a galaxy-filled background.

[Image credits: NASA, ESA, CSA, J. DePasquale (STScI)]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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