James Webb Space Telescope (WEB) The most detailed and clear images ever captured were of the interior of the Orion Nebula, a stellar nursery located in the constellation Orion 1,350 light-years from Earth.
New photos released today It was targeted by an international collaboration, which includes researchers from Western University.
The interior of the Orion Nebula as seen by the NIRCam instrument of the James Webb Space Telescope. This is a composite image of several filters representing emission from ionized gas, hydrocarbons, molecular gas, dust, and scattered starlight. Most notable is the Orion Bar, a wall of thick gas and dust running from the top left to the bottom right in this image, which contains the bright θ2 star Orionis A. The stars (known as the Trapezium Cluster) are in the top right of the image. The strong, harsh UV rays of the Trapezium array create a hot ionizing environment in the upper right, slowly eroding the Orion bar away. Particles and dust can survive longer in the sheltered environment provided by the dense ribbon, but the burst of stellar energy carves out a region displaying an astonishing richness of filaments, globules, and young stars with discs and cavities. Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, PDRs4All ERS Team; Image processing Salome Voinmayor Technical details: Image acquired with the James Webb Space Telescope NIRCam instrument on September 11, 2022. Several images were combined in different filters to create this composite image: F140M and F210M (blue); F277W, F300M, F323N, F335M, F332W (in green); F405N (orange); and F444W, F480M, and F470N (red).
“We were amazed by the amazing images of the Orion Nebula. We started this project in 2017, so we have been waiting over five years to get this data,” said the Western astrophysicist. Peters.
“Massive young stars emit large amounts of ultraviolet radiation directly into the original cloud that still surrounds them, and this changes the physical shape of the cloud as well as its chemical composition. Exactly how this works, and how it affects further formation of stars and planets is not yet known.”
New images released today reveal many amazing structures within the nebula, down to scales similar to the size of the solar system.
Young star with a disk inside its cocoon: The planet consists of disks of gas and dust around a young star. These disks are dissipated or “photo-evaporated” by the strong radiation field of stars near the trapezoid creating a cocoon of dust and gas around them. Approximately 180 of these externally luminous optical disks have been detected around young stars (also known as Proplyds) in the Orion Nebula, and HST-10 (pictured) is one of the largest known. The orbit of Neptune is shown for comparison. Filaments: The entire image is rich in filaments of various sizes and shapes. The inset here shows thin, sinuous filaments that are particularly rich in hydrocarbon molecules and molecular hydrogen. They are thought to arise from turbulent motions of gas within the nebula. θ2 Orionis A: The brightest star in this image is θ2 Orionis A, a star bright enough to be seen with the naked eye from a dark place on Earth. Stellar light reflecting off the dust grains causes the red glow in its immediate surroundings. Young star within a sphere: As dense clouds of gas and dust become gravitationally unstable, they collapse into stellar embryos that gradually grow ever larger until they can begin nuclear fusion in their core—they begin to shine. This young star is still immersed in the natal cloud. Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, PDRs4All ERS Team; Image processing Salome Voinmayor Technical details: Image acquired with the James Webb Space Telescope NIRCam instrument on September 11, 2022. Several images were combined in different filters to create this composite image: F140M and F210M (blue); F277W, F300M, F323N, F335M, F332W (in green); F405N (orange); and F444W, F480M, and F470N (red).
Obviously, we see several dense filaments. These filamentous structures may promote a new generation of stars in the deep regions of the dust and gas cloud. Star systems are emerging as well, Bernier said. Inside its cocoon, young stars with a disk of dust and gas in which planets are formed are observed in the nebula. Small cavities dug by new stars blown away by the intense radiation and stellar winds of newborn stars can also be seen.”
The proper elements consist of a central protostar surrounded by a disk of dust and gas in which planets form. Numerous protoplanets, emerging stars, and newborn stars submerged in dust are scattered throughout the images.
“We’ve never been able to see the intricately minute details of how interstellar matter is formed in these environments, and learn how planetary systems might form in the presence of this harsh radiation. These images reveal the legacy of the interstellar medium in planetary systems,” said Habart.
Long considered an environment similar to the birthplace of the solar system (when it formed over 4.5 billion years ago), scientists today are interested in observing the Orion Nebula to understand, by analogy, what happened during the first million years of planetary evolution. .
The cores of stellar nurseries like the Orion Nebula are obscured by large amounts of stardust, making it impossible to study what happens inside them in visible light with telescopes such as the Hubble Space Telescope. Webb detects infrared light from the universe, allowing observers to see these layers of dust while revealing the motion taking place in the depths of the nebula.
The Orion Nebula: JWST vs. Hubble Space Telescope (HST) The interior of the Orion Nebula as seen by the Hubble Space Telescope (left) and the James Webb Space Telescope (right). The HST image is dominated by emissions of hot ionized gas, highlighting the side of the Orion Bar facing the Trapezium Cluster (from the top right of the image). The JWST image also shows the cooler molecular material slightly further away from the Trapezium Cluster (compare the Orion Bar’s location for the bright star θ2 Orionis A for example). Moreover, Webb’s sensitive infrared vision can peer through thick layers of dust and see faint stars, allowing scientists to study what’s happening deep in the nebula. Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, PDRs4All ERS Team; Image processing by Olivier Bernet. HST image credit: NASA/STScI/Rice Univ./C.O’Dell et al. Program ID: PRC95-45a. Technical details: HST image uses WFPC2 mosaic. This composite image is used [OIII] (blue), ionized hydrogen (green), and [NII] (red).
“Observing the Orion Nebula has been a challenge because it is too bright for Webb’s unprecedentedly sensitive instruments. But Webb is incredible, Webb can spot distant and faint galaxies, as well as Jupiter and Orion, two of the brightest sources in the infrared sky.”
At the heart of the Orion Nebula is a “trapezoidal cluster” of young, massive stars that make up the intense ultraviolet dust and gas cloud. Understanding how this intense radiation affects their surroundings is a fundamental question in understanding the formation of stellar systems like our own solar system.
“Seeing these first images of the Orion Nebula is just the beginning. The PDRs4All team is working hard to analyze the Orion data and we expect new discoveries about these early stages of stellar system formation,” Habart said.
Webb is the most powerful space telescope in human history. Developed in partnership with NASA, and European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA)Featuring an iconic 6.5-meter-wide mirror, it consists of a honeycomb pattern of 18 gold-plated hexagonal mirror pieces and a five-tier diamond-shaped sunshade the size of a tennis court. As a partner, the Canadian Space Agency gets a guaranteed share of Webb’s observation time, making Canadian scientists among the first to study data collected by the most advanced space telescope ever.
The Orion Nebula: JWST vs. Spitzer Space Telescope The interior of the Orion Nebula as seen by the Spitzer Space Telescope (left) and the James Webb Space Telescope (right). Both images were recorded using a filter that is particularly sensitive to emissions from hydrocarbon dust that glows all over the image. This comparison stunningly shows how incredibly accurate Webb’s images are compared to their infrared precursor, the Spitzer Space Telescope. This is immediately evident from the complex filaments, but Webb’s sharp eyes also allow us to better distinguish stars from protoplanetary globules and disks. Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, PDRs4All ERS Team; Image processing by Olivier Bernet. Spitzer image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Meggeth (University of Toledo, Ohio) Technical details: The Spitzer image shows infrared light at 3.6 microns captured by the Spitzer Infrared Array Camera (IRAC). The JWST image shows infrared light at 3.35 μm that was captured by the JWST NIRCam. Black pixels are artifacts caused by the detectors being saturated with bright stars.