The James Webb Space Telescope peered through the clouds of the Orion Nebula to spot burning stars heating up the region around them and tearing apart molecules
September 12, 2022
If you look closely at the Orion constellation, you will see that the star in the center of the ball of the figure is not a star at all. This the Orion Nebula, the nearest massive star-forming region to Earth. The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) peered deep into the nebula to reveal how massive stars affect the regions in which they were born.
This image shows 1/800 of the visible volume nebula, which has a mass about 2,000 times that of the Sun and contains hundreds of young, hot stars. He was taken as part of a surveillance program under the direction of Olivier Bernet of the Institute for Research in Astrophysics and Planetology in France.
This program is designed specifically to study how stars heat the gas and dust around them. The process is most intense in regions called photodissociation regions, named after the process by which intense starlight breaks apart the molecules that surround stars.
The image above shows one such region in which the bright stars in the lower right have heated up and dispersed material around them, leaving the clouds in the upper left far enough away to avoid the most powerful radiation. A detailed understanding of this process is key to studying the interstellar matter in our galaxy, because it consists of remnants and remnants of star-forming regions such as the Orion Nebula.
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