Thanks to its enormous power and reach, the James Webb Space Telescope brings back new objects every week. One day it was a mirror galaxy, then it photographed the birth of a star or the collision of two planets. And now it brings something that scientists describe as fascinating: some unexplained structures at the center of the Milky Way.
NASA has unveiled a new image of the Milky Way taken by the James Webb Space Telescope, showing increased detail in the region near the core of our galaxy. The image shows details of Sagittarius C, a central region of the Milky Way where stars are born and located about 300 light years from the giant black hole that forms the central axis of our galaxy.
In it you can see approximately 500,000 stars and a cluster of protostars emerging from dense dark clouds of dust and gas (protostars are young stars that multiply before becoming bugs -os stars).
“The galactic center is a full and chaotic place – explains the associate researcher of the Astrophysics Institute of Andalusia, Rubén Fedriani -. There are turbulent, magnetized gas clouds that form stars, which then affect the surrounding gas in their winds, jets and radiation. “The James Webb Telescope is giving us a lot of data about this extreme environment, and we’re just starting to dig into it.”
And there, in that complex region, the telescope detected what NASA called “inexplicable structures” in the shape of needles. These are clusters of plumes, believed to be emissions of ionized hydrogen, and appear cyan in the image. Typically, these wisps are the product of massive stars emitting photons that ionize the surrounding hydrogen gas.
Within these strands, scientists are confused by the existence of striped, needle-like structures, like ice crystals, which are randomly distributed. Scientists don’t know what they are and they are determined to find more data to find out.
The discovery is possible because it is the first time “we have obtained infrared data in this region with the level of resolution and sensitivity thanks to the James Webb telescope, so we have seen many features here for the first time – added Samuel Crowe, co-investigator – . “This allows us to reveal an incredible amount of details, which makes it easier for us to study star formation in this type of environment in a way that was not possible before. “
Scientists are excited about this new shot because not only is it beautiful, but it will help researchers understand how stars form in the first place. And solve a mystery that we still don’t know.