The James Webb Telescope is . This time the telescope We illuminate the densest part of our surroundings in “unprecedented detail.” Specifically, the images come from a star-forming region called Sagittarius C, or Sgr C for short.
This area is about 300 light-years from the galaxy’s supermassive black hole, Sagittarius A, and over 25,000 light-years from a small blue rock called Earth. In total, there are over 500,000 stars in the region and various clusters of protostars, stars that are still forming and increasing in mass. The final result? A breathtaking cloud of chaos, especially compared to our region of space, which is decidedly barren in comparison.
In fact, the galactic center is “the most extreme environment” in the Milky Way, noted Jonathan Tan, a professor at the University of Virginia who assisted the observing team. Thanks to the power of the Webb Telescope, there has never been data on this region with this “resolution and sensitivity” before.
At the center of it all is a massive protostar that weighs more than 30 times our Sun. This actually makes the area appear less populated than it actually is, as this solar object blocks light from behind, so not even Webb can see all the stars in the region. So what you’re seeing is a conservative estimate of how crowded the area is. It’s like Times Square in space, Restaurant (for now)
The data provided by these images will allow researchers to put current theories of star formation “to their most rigorous test.” To do this, Webb’s Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) instrument captured large-area emission images of ionized hydrogen, the blue on the bottom of the image. This is likely because young and massive stars release high-energy photons. However, the enormous size of the region surprised researchers and required further investigation.
The observing team’s lead researcher, Samuel Crowe, said the research enabled by these and future images will allow scientists to understand the nature of massive stars, which is akin to “learning the formation history of much of the universe.”
This is obviously not the first interesting image produced by the James Webb Telescope. We are in the constellation Virgo, the main asteroid belt, and among others. They are seen things And thankfully it won’t all disappear like tears in the rain, because of the internet and because Webb is still out there.