Carina Nebula: What Are These “Cosmic Rocks” James Webb Saw?

Carina Nebula: What Are These "Cosmic Rocks" James Webb Saw?

The shot of the Carina Nebula is undoubtedly the most poetic of the James Webb Telescope’s first images, with its magnificent “cosmic rocks”. But what exactly are these structures?

First images obtained by the James Webb Telescope (JWST)., presented on July 12, 2022, are excellent. And it probably is This was just the beginning of NASA’s observational capabilities. In these first scenes, something is already there Find classic wallpaper for your smartphone. The Carina Nebula is particularly poetic, with its “cosmic rocks”. But what exactly are we seeing in this picture?

A simple glance at this amazing view of the nebula (Birth ZoneStars) gives the impression of thinking, As NASA saysa ” The landscape of ‘hills’ and ‘valleys’ is dotted with twinkling stars “. The space agency itself uses the term “cosmic glyphs” to describe how this image was taken James Webb. You can get the feeling of observing a landscape from the sky, like a sea with high cliffs.

“James Webb Explores Areas We Couldn’t See Before”

James Webb was actually observing a particular region at the edge of the Carina Nebula: NGC 3324, where many young stars are forming. NGC 3324 is 7,600 light-years away.

Thanks to JWST’s infrared observations, we can finally see more of this nebula. Regions where stars are born are visible. “ James Webb allows us to explore areas of this nebula that we could not see beforeLESIA (Laboratory for Spatial Studies and Instruments in Astrophysics) CNRS Research Director Numerama explains to Anthony Boccaletti. Telescopes like Hubble have trouble penetrating this nebula because it is opaque to visible radiation.. »

Nebula careen jwst
Carina Nebula. //Source: NASA, ESA, CSA and STScI

of “Cliffs”. 7 light years

The highest “peaks” of these “cosmic rocks” are vertiginous: these structures measure about 7 light years! The “sea” which appears to be their boundary is actually ” A hole in the nebulato describe Anthony Poccaletti, There is less gas and dust “. It is the very bright stars, visible at the top of the image, that contributed to the evacuation of this cavernous zone.” They emit very energetic light and stellar winds. This light and matter is eroding the region of the nebula Scientist in brief. and below, In the orange zone, we see stars beginning to live “.

Through his observations NGC 3324, James Webb could help scientists better understand how stars form. Here, the instruments NIRCam, the telescope’s near-infrared camera, and MIRI, its near-infrared instrument, were used. NIRCam is impossible to detect hundreds of stars, while MIRI reveals the nebula’s hot dust and various chemical compositions.

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