NASA’s Webb Space Telescope Captures Stunning Image of Newborn Star
Astronomers at NASA have used the Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam) instrument of the Webb Space Telescope (JWST) to photograph the newborn star HH 797 in its “infancy.” Located 1,000 light-years from Earth, the Herbig-Haro Object 797 (HH 797) is seen in the lower half of the image, near the young open star cluster IC 348.
HH objects are nebula-like formations in the universe that are formed from newborn stars. These stars continuously eject gas at high speeds, resulting in violent collisions with gas and dust clouds around them, creating light. The newly captured image shows the protostar ejecting high-speed stellar winds that collide with nearby dust and gas, creating a spectacular display of cosmic interactions.
Previous ground-based observations revealed that the cold molecular gas associated with HH 797 shows a gradient, with red-shifted gas located in the south and blue-shifted gas in the north. Additionally, the image from the Webb telescope shows that what was once thought to be a single outflow is actually composed of two nearly parallel outflows with their own series of shock waves, explaining the speed asymmetry of the gas.
The higher-resolution image also revealed that HH 797 is not a single star, but a binary star, located in a small dark region at the lower right of the center. The detailed observations and stunning image captured by the Webb Space Telescope provide new insights into the formation and behavior of newborn stars and their surroundings.
The use of the NIRCam instrument has allowed astronomers to capture this remarkable snapshot of a newborn star in its early stages, shedding light on the complex processes involved in the birth and evolution of stars in the universe. The discovery and detailed analysis of HH 797 will contribute to our understanding of the formation and dynamics of young stars and their surrounding environments.