JWST Reveals a Newly-Forming Double Protostar

This new Picture of the Month from the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope reveals intricate details of the Herbig Haro object 797 (HH 797). HH 797 dominates the lower half of this image. The bright infrared objects in the upper portion of the image are thought to host two further protostars. This image was captured with Webb’s Near-InfraRed Camera (NIRCam). Image Credit: JWST/CSA/ESA/NASA

As our newest, most perceptive eye on the ongoing unfolding of the cosmos, the James Webb Space Telescope is revealing many things that were previously unseeable. One of the space telescope’s science goals is to expand our understanding of how stars form. The JWST has the power to see into the cocoons of gas and dust that hide young protostars.

It peered inside one of these cocoons and showed us that what we thought was a single star is actually a binary star.

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It’s Like Looking at the Infant Sun: Webb Captures Image of an Energetic Young Star

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope’s high resolution, near-infrared look at Herbig-Haro 211 reveals exquisite detail of the outflow of a newly forming young star, an infantile analogue of our Sun. Image Credit: ESA/Webb, NASA, CSA, Tom Ray (Dublin)
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope’s high resolution, near-infrared look at Herbig-Haro 211 reveals exquisite detail of the outflow of a newly forming young star, an infantile analogue of our Sun. Image Credit: ESA/Webb, NASA, CSA, Tom Ray (Dublin)

Ever wondered what our young Sun might have looked like in its infancy some five billion years ago?

The audacious JWST has captured an image of a very young star much like our young Sun, though the star itself is obscured. Instead, we see supersonic jets of gas. Young stars can blast out jets of material as they form, and the jets light up the surrounding gas. The luminous regions created by the jets as they slam into the gas are called Herbig-Haro Objects.

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