Webb Telescope Reveals Majestic Hourglass of Dust Around Young Star

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The Webb Telescope unveils a grandiose hourglass of dust around a young star

The very young star, known as protostar L1527, is located in the constellation Taurus.

The space telescope James Webb on Wednesday revealed blazing new images of a huge hourglass-shaped cloud of dust around a forming star.

Hitherto hidden, these orange and blue clouds were made visible by the telescope's NIRCam instrument, which operates in the near infrared – a wavelength invisible to the eye. human.

The very young star, known as protostar L1527 and located in the constellation Taurus, is hidden in darkness by the edge of a rotating gas disc at the neck of the hourglass.

But light from this protostar leaks above and below this disc, illuminating cavities in the surrounding gas and dust, explained NASA, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and the European Space Agency. (ESA) in a joint statement.

Clouds are created by material ejected from the star colliding with surrounding material. The dust is finer in the blue parts, thicker in the orange parts.

At only 100,000 years old, the protostar is at the earliest stage of its formation. She is not yet able to generate her own energy.

The black disk around it, roughly the size of our solar system, will supply the protostar with materials until it reaches the threshold needed to start nuclear fusion, space agencies have pointed out.

Ultimately, this view of L1527 provides a window into what our Sun and solar system looked like in their infancy, the two agencies added.

The Molecular Cloud in Taurus, located about 430 light-years from Earth, is a stellar nursery home to hundreds of molecules. nearly formed stars.

The James Webb Telescope, whose first color images were unveiled in July, is conducting its observations 1.5 million kilometers from Earth.

One ​​of the main purposes of this $10 billion telescope is to study the life cycle of stars. es.

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