Good morning. It’s November 21, and today’s image takes us into the heart of our galaxy.
Specifically, the image from the James Webb Space Telescope features a star-forming region named Sagittarius C, which is about 300 light-years from the Milky Way’s central supermassive black hole.
According to astronomers, there are about 500,000 stars in this image. Because the center of the galaxy is relatively close at 25,000 light-years away—compared to the distance of other galaxies from our own—Webb can discern lots of details about individual stars. This image, in particular, will provide important insights into the nature of stellar formation.
Here’s some more detail on this image from the European Space Agency: “At the heart of this young cluster is a previously known, massive protostar over 30 times the mass of our Sun. The cloud the protostars are emerging from is so dense that the light from stars behind it cannot reach Webb, making it appear less crowded when in fact it is one of the most densely packed areas of the image. Smaller infrared-dark clouds dot the image, looking like holes in the star field. That’s where future stars are forming.”
Source: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, S. Crowe.
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