A new image from the James Webb Space Telescope shows the heart of our galaxy, an area close to the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way, Sagittarius A*. The image shows a star-forming region where filaments of dust and gas are sticking together to give birth to new baby stars.
The image was captured using Webb’s NIRCam instrument, a camera that looks in the near-infrared part of the electromagnetic spectrum with shorter wavelengths shown in blue and cyan and longer wavelengths shown in yellow and red. Is.
This region is called Sagittarius C, and it is located about 300 light-years away from the supermassive black hole Sagittarius A*. For context, Earth is located about 26,000 light years from Sagittarius A*, far from the galactic center.
The Sagittarius C region is thought to contain about 500,000 stars, including many young protostars, some of which will go on to become main sequence stars like our Sun. As stars form, they release powerful stellar winds that blow away material nearby and prevent more stars from forming too close to them.
These outflows illuminate in infrared wavelengths, and the cyan-colored patches in the image are created by ionized gas. Young stars release large amounts of energy, which ionizes the hydrogen gas around them and makes them glow in the infrared.
However, there are actually more stars in this region than can be seen in the image. The scattered dark areas in the image are not empty, but dense clouds that are black in the infrared, including a large dense area in the middle of the field.
There are still some surprises to be found in the image, some features that scientists need to study in more depth. Web scientists write, “Researchers say they have begun to dig into the trove of unprecedented high-resolution data provided by the Web on this area, and many of the features have been studied in detail.” “This includes the pinkish clouds on the right side of the image, which have never been seen in such detail.”