Celebrate a Year of JWST With This Ludicrous Image of Rho Ophiuchi

JWST image of the star forming region Rho Ophiuchi. Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, Klaus Pontoppidan (STScI)

Astronomy is driven by data. We take spectra of distant galaxies, plot the temperatures and brightness of main sequence stars, and graph the gravitational chirps of merging black holes. All of this data allows us to understand the universe around us. We don’t need images to do that, just data. But we still capture images even when we already have the data. We value them for their wondrous beauty, and for the stories they tell. This is why to celebrate a year of gathering data the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) released a stunningly beautiful image that also tells a wondrous tale.

Continue reading “Celebrate a Year of JWST With This Ludicrous Image of Rho Ophiuchi”

This is a Binary Star in the Process of Formation

Zoom into the Ophiuchus molecular cloud, highlighting the star forming system IRAS 16293-2422 with the proto-star B in the upper right corner and the now clearly identified binary proto-stars A1 and A2 on the bottom left. The binary system is shown also in a further zoom-in panel. Image: © MPE; background: ESO/Digitized Sky Survey 2; Davide De Martin)

About 460 light years away lies the Rho Ophiuchi cloud complex. It’s a molecular cloud—an active star-forming region—and it’s one of the closest ones. R. Ophiuchi is a dark nebula, a region so thick with dust that the visible light from stars is almost completely obscured.

But scientists working with ALMA have pin-pointed a pair of young proto-stars inside all that dust, doing the busy work of becoming active stars.

Continue reading “This is a Binary Star in the Process of Formation”