In the first photo, James Webb found a hidden treasure

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Thanks to leading tools of the James Webb Space Telescope NASA scientists took a closer look at one of the most attractive images of the observatory. What they found there surprised them greatly.

Astronomers pointed the James Webb infrared instruments at the so-called Space Rocks in the massive Kiel Nebula, and more precisely at the star cluster NGC 3324. The resulting images were in the first series of observations that we saw back in July. But now the researchers conducted a deeper analysis of the data and found in the pictures a whole crop of newborn eyes at a rare stage of development.

The Hubble telescope has also observed this corner of the universe in the past. But James Webb’s infrared instruments allowed for the first time to peer through clouds of dust and gas to reveal powerful jets of matter erupting from young stars.

Detailed analysis of NGC 3324

“Such jets point to the most interesting stage of the early star formation process. They only exist for a short period of time when the protostar is actively expanding, absorbing the surrounding material.” explained researcher Nathan Smith from the University of Arizona.

The window of early active star formation is only a few thousand years out of the several million it takes for a star to fully form. It’s similar to how Hubble allowed us to observe a star’s “baby room,” but James Webb opened the door to that room to take a closer look at how newborn stars grow and develop. Researchers say the discovery could usher in a new era of understanding how stars like our Sun form and how that radiation affects the development of nearby planets.

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