The James Webb Space Telescope captured the supersonic outflow of a young star in stunning detail.
The image of a Herbig-Haro object called HH 211 has five to 10 times the spatial resolution of any previous image of it. It shows the newborn star spewing jets of gas that travel at 48-60 miles per second, according to researchers. JWST's infrared sensors mapped out the shockwave formed when the jets collided with nearby gas and dust at high speed.
"Molecules excited by the turbulent conditions, including molecular hydrogen, carbon monoxide, and silicon monoxide, emit infrared light that Webb can collect to map out the structure of the outflows," NASA officials said in a statement.
The arching shapes at the bottom-left and top-right of the image below are called bow shocks, named for how they resemble the bow of a boat.
"Researchers have used Webb’s new observations to determine that the object’s outflow is relatively slow in comparison to more evolved protostars with similar types of outflows," researchers said of the baby star.
"This image of HH 211 from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope reveals an outflow from a Class 0 protostar, an infantile analog of our Sun when it was no more than a few tens of thousands of years old and with a mass only 8% of the present-day Sun," researchers said.
Original article source: Baby star's supersonic outflow captured in stunning detail by Webb telescope