This is how the solar system was born. The Webb Telescope has discovered a cosmic hourglass (photo)
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A new image from Webb shows the birth of a new star surrounded by a cloud of gas.
The Webb Space Telescope took a stunning image of an hourglass cloud of gas and dust. In fact, this substance flies out of the protostar, which is at the very initial stage of formation. This future full-fledged star is at the very center of the cosmic hourglass, writes The Guardian.
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The Webb Telescope, using its near-infrared camera, NIRCam, has detected previously unknown features of a protostar called L1527. Protostars are called the beginnings of future ordinary stars, when they only accumulate matter for their formation.
This protostar lies in a nova-forming region called the Taurus Molecular Cloud, and it is located 430 light-years away. This protostar is only 100,000 years old and is in its earliest stages of formation, scientists say. This protostar is at the center of a gas cloud that is shaped like an hourglass. The cloud acquired this shape due to the fact that during formation the protostar ejects its matter into space, and its light illuminates these two parts of the cloud.
The cloud has orange and blue colors and this is due to the amount of dust that is between the telescope and the protostar itself. Where the layer of dust is thicker, an orange color is visible, where there is less dust, blue. This cloud, which is located next to a young star, has not been observed by astronomers before, and only the powerful device of the Webb telescope made it possible to image it.
Protostar L1527 is not yet strong enough to start a thermonuclear reaction, which is the lifeblood for sustaining the existence of stars. So far, this young star is a clump of matter, the mass of which is equivalent to 20% to 40% of the mass of our Sun.
The star itself is surrounded by an accretion disk – this is gas and dust that surrounds the star and from it it receives new portions of material for further formation. By the way, this accretion disk is comparable in size to the size of our solar system and planets will also soon form in it. Therefore, what the protostar L1527 looks like is a vivid illustration of what the Sun and the entire Solar System looked like at the very beginning of its formation.
The disk surrounding the young star will supply the star with the substance it needs until the moment when there is no a stable thermonuclear reaction will begin.
As the star accumulates more and more matter and gains more mass, the temperature of its core will increase and, when certain values are reached, thermonuclear fusion will begin. After that, this protostar will turn into a real star.
As Focus already wrote, the threat from micrometeorites for the Webb telescope has not disappeared anywhere. Therefore, NASA is forced to change its position in space.