NASA has released a new photo from the James Webb Space Telescope showing a star being born.
The protostar is relatively young, about 100,000 years old.
Since the telescope went online earlier this year, a series of stunning images have been released.
A new image taken by the James Webb Space Telescope captured the birth of a star.
The dramatic hourglass shape was created by a protostar called L1527, a young body obscured in the above image behind the dark band at the center of the hourglass.
L1527 is only about 100,000 years old, in the earliest stages of becoming a star. Our sun, by comparison, is about 4.6 billion years old, CNN reported.
The photo was released Wednesday.
As it gathers material to get bigger and bigger, the protostar shoots out material, which illuminates the cosmic dust and gas around it in infrared light, here artificially colored orange and blue, NASA said in a press release.
That makes it a perfect target for the advanced infrared camera (NIRcam) of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), which was able to see through the area’s dense clouds of dust and gas for the first time.
Clouds like these, also called nebulae, are the perfect breeding ground for stars to be born.
L1527 does not yet qualify as a full star. That’s because it’s not yet capable of making its own energy through nuclear fusion of hydrogen.
For now, it collects more and more dust and gas from the clouds around it, which spin as they fall into the dense core, creating what’s called an accretion disk that carries material toward the protostar, according to NASA.
Little by little, the temperature of L1527 will rise, eventually reaching temperatures that can begin a fusion reaction. But that won’t be long now.
This is the latest in a series of stunning space images released by JWST since its launch earlier this year.
With its huge gold reflecting mirrors, JWST has provided unprecedented insights into space, from its stationary orbit, about a million miles away from Earth.
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