A remarkable image from the Webb Telescope shows something important about star formation

It is about 650 light-years away from Earth, and is distinguished by its shape, which was of course an inspiration for those who came up with the name of this body. Recently, astronomers looked at it using NIRCam, an instrument that allows observations in the near infrared.

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A publication dedicated to the effects of these activities has been published Astrophysical Journal. As they emphasize, they were particularly interested in objects in the northern part of this star-forming region. The streams of gas released there, called jets, come from stars that are born and then collide with deposits of gas and dust.

Observations made with the James Webb Space Telescope provide information about star formation in the Serpent Nebula

While the directions of these currents are different in most cases, in this case they turned out to be similar to each other. This is a valuable observation in the context of learning the secrets of rising stars. Without the advanced technological capabilities of the James Webb Space Telescope, achieving the set goal will certainly not be possible.

The collapse of the gas clouds leads to the birth of the star, and its rotation speed increases. To preserve this phenomenon, it is necessary to remove part of the spin, i.e. the angular momentum. The material accumulates around it in a disc shape that behaves in a similar way to the vortex flowing down a drain. Rotating magnetic fields in the inner disk eject some material in the form of currents directed in two opposite directions, perpendicular to the disk.

Why did astronomers see planes that were oriented the same way? According to members of the research team, there are many factors that can affect the alignment of these jets, for example when binary stars orbit around each other and become unstable. In such conditions, the jet’s firing direction may change. Since the Serpent Nebula is very young, between 1 and 2 million years old, such a scenario is very likely.

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As you can see in the image above, the red color indicates the presence of molecular hydrogen and carbon monoxide. The filaments and bands of different colors captured by the Webb Telescope represent starlight reflected from the protostars forming there. The faint orange glow was caused by the presence of dust. Astronomers plan to use NIRSpec spectrometers to provide them with access to information about the chemical composition of the nebula. This will allow scientists to get a comprehensive picture of the environments in which objects like the Sun form.

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