Tuesday, July 02, 2024

Stellar Nursery L1527 & Protostar in Taurus | James Webb Space Telescope

Stellar Nursery L1527 & Protostar in Taurus | James Webb Space Telescope

L1527, shown in this image from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope’s MIRI (Mid-Infrared Instrument), is a molecular cloud that harbors a protostar. The protostar is a relatively young object of about 100,000 years. It resides about 460 light-years from Earth in the constellation Taurus. The more diffuse blue light and the filamentary structures in the image come from organic compounds known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), while the red at the center of this image is an energized, thick layer of gases and dust that surrounds the protostar. The region in between, appearing in white, is a mixture of PAHs, ionized gas, and other molecules.

The effects of stellar outflows are visible. They are emitted in opposite directions along the protostar’s rotational axis as the object consumes gas and dust from the surrounding cloud. These outflows take the form of bow shocks to the surrounding molecular cloud. They appear as filamentary structures throughout. They are also responsible for carving the bright hourglass structure within the molecular cloud as they energize, or excite, the surrounding matter and cause the regions above and below it to glow. This creates an effect reminiscent of fireworks brightening a cloudy night sky. 

As the protostar continues to age and release energetic jets, it will consume, destroy, and push away much of this molecular cloud, and many of the structures we see here will begin to fade. Eventually, once it finishes gathering mass, this impressive display will end, and the star itself will become more apparent, even to visible-light telescopes.

Image Credits: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI

Release Date: July 2, 2024

#NASA #Space #Astronomy #Science #Stars #Protostars #StellarOutflows #StellaNurseries #L1527 #Taurus #Constellation #Universe #JWST #Infrared #SpaceTelescopes #ESA #CSA #GSFC #STScI #UnitedStates #STEM #Education 

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