Tuesday September 13, 2022
Webb telescope captures `breathtaking` images of Orion Nebula
The wall of dense gas and dust resembles a huge winged creature, its luminous jaws illuminated by a bright star as it soars through cosmic filaments.
An international research team revealed the first images of the Orion Nebula captured with the James Webb Space Telescope, leaving astronomers baffled.
The stellar nursery is located in the constellation of Orion, 1,350 light-years from Earth, in a similar environment in which our solar system was born more than 4.5 billion years ago.
Astronomers want to understand what happened during the first million years of our planetary evolution.
The images were obtained as part of the Early Release Science programme and involved more than 100 scientists in 18 countries, with institutions such as the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), Western University in Canada and the University of Michigan. Â
"We are in awe of the breathtaking images of the Orion Nebula," Western University astrophysicist Els Peeters said.
"These new observations allow us to better understand how massive stars transform the cloud of gas and dust in which they were born," he added.
The nebulas are obscured by large amounts of dust that made observation with visible-light telescopes, such as the Hubble Space Telescope, Webb's predecessor, impossible.
Webb, however, operates primarily in the infrared spectrum, penetrating dust. This revealed many spectacular structures, up to the scale of 40 astronomical units,Â the size of our solar system.