Spectacular images of the Orion Nebula captured by the James Webb Telescope

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Spectacular images of the Orion Nebula captured by the James Webb Telescope

The inner region of the Orion Nebula as seen by the NIRCam instrument of the James Webb Space Telescope.

Dramatic new images from the James Webb Space Telescope on Monday expose the Orion Nebula, whose clump of gas and stellar dust outlines a vast winged creature with in its center a star that shines brightly.

Located 1350 light-years from Earth, this celestial object appears to provide a similar environment to that in which our solar system was born 4.5 billion years ago.

The international team of researchers who published these unpublished images intends to study these data in order to better understand the conditions which reigned during the creation of our system.

The capture of these images is part of one of James Webb's priority observation programs and involved more than a hundred scientists in 18 countries, with the help of the CNRS in particular. France, Western University in Canada and the University of Michigan.

We are blown away by the spectacular images of the Orion Nebula, a said astrophysicist Els Peeters of Western University, in a statement.

“These new observations allow us to better understand how massive stars transform the clouds of gas and dust in which they were born.

— Els Peeters, Astrophysicist, Western University

Nebulae are obscured by large amounts of dust that make them impossible to observe in visible light with telescopes like Hubble , the predecessor of James Webb.

The latter has tools that capture infrared light from the cosmos and allow you to see through these layers of dust.

This has revealed grandiose structures down to a scale of about 40 AU – an AU corresponding approximately to the distance between the Earth and the Sun.

Among them are a number of dense filaments of matter which could promote the birth of a new generation of stars as well as stellar systems in formation, consisting of a central star surrounded by a disc of dust and gas inside which are formed planets.

“We hope to be able to understand the entire birth cycle of a star.

— Edwin Bergin, Astrophysicist, University of Michigan

A $10 billion engineering gem, the James Webb Telescope leads its observations at 1.5 million kilometers from Earth.

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