Webb telescope captures ‘stunning’ images of the Orion Nebula

Webb telescope captures 'stunning' images of the Orion Nebula

The inner region of the Orion Nebula as seen by the James Webb Space Telescope’s NIRCam instrument. Credit: NASA

The wall of dense gas and dust resembles a huge winged creature, its glowing maw illuminated by a bright star as it soars through cosmic filaments.

An international research team on Monday revealed the first images of the Orion Nebula captured with the James Webb Space Telescope, leaving astronomers “impressed”.

the stellar nursery It is located in the constellation of Orion, 1,350 light years from Earth, in a similar environment in which our own solar system was born more than 4,500 million years ago.

Astronomers are interested in the region to better understand what happened during the first million years of our planetary evolution.

The images were obtained as part of the Early Release Science program and involved more than 100 scientists in 18 countries, with institutions including the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), Western Canada University and the University of Michigan.

Webb telescope captures 'stunning' images of the Orion Nebula

Credit: NASA

“We are impressed by the stunning images of the Orion Nebula,” Western University astrophysicist Els Peeters said in a statement.

“These new observations allow us to better understand how massive stars transform the gas and dust cloud in which they are born,” he added.

Webb telescope captures 'stunning' images of the Orion Nebula

Orion Nebula: JWST versus Hubble Space Telescope (HST). Credit: NASA

The nebulae are obscured by large amounts of dust that made them impossible to observe with visible-light telescopes, such as the Hubble Space Telescope, Webb’s predecessor.

However, Webb operates primarily in the infrared spectrumpenetrating dust.

This revealed numerous spectacular structures, up to the scale of 40 astronomical units, or the size of our solar system.

These include dense filaments of matter, which could spawn new generations of stars, as well as forming star systems consisting of a central protostar surrounded by a disk of dust and gas, in which planets form.

Webb telescope captures 'stunning' images of the Orion Nebula

Orion Nebula: JWST versus the Spitzer Space Telescope. Credit: NASA

“We hope to better understand the entire cycle of star birth,” said Edwin Bergin, chair of astronomy at the University of Michigan and a member of the international research team.

“In this image, we observe this cycle in which the first generation of stars essentially radiates material for the next generation. The incredible structures we observe will detail how the feedback loop of star birth occurs in our galaxy and beyond.”

Webb is the most powerful space telescope ever built, with a main mirror It measures 6.5 meters (over 21 feet) and is made up of 18 gold-coated hexagonal segments, as well as a five-layer parasol the size of a tennis court.

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Citation: Webb Telescope Captures ‘Breathtaking’ Images of the Orion Nebula (September 12, 2022) Retrieved September 12, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-09-webb-telescope-captures-breathtake -images.html

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