Daily Telescope: An extremely hot jet 1,000 light-years from Earth

Zoom in / This image reveals intricate details of Herbig Harrow Object No. 797 (HH 797).

ESA/WEP, NASA and CSA, T. Ray (Dublin Institute for Advanced Study)

Welcome to Daily Telescope. There is too little darkness in this world and not enough light, too little pseudoscience and not enough science. We’ll let the other posts provide your daily horoscope. At Ars Technica, we’ll take a different route, finding inspiration from very real images of a universe full of stars and wonders.

Good morning. It’s December 6, and today’s image shows a stunning outburst from a double star about 1,000 light-years from Earth.

The James Webb Space Telescope captured this image and provided unprecedented detail of the Herbig-Harrow Object 797. Such objects are bright regions surrounding newborn stars and are formed when stellar winds or jets of gas emitted by these protostars form shock waves that collide with nearby gas and dust at high speeds.

In this case – previously unknown to astronomers – the source of these stunning jets is not one but two stars, which can be seen on the right side of the image. Other outflows are also visible in this image, including one from the protostar at the top of the image, with its luminous hollow walls.

These objects are in the wheelhouse of the Webb Telescope’s infrared capabilities. Molecules in the outflows of young stars are excited by turbulent conditions, and emit infrared light that Webb can collect to visualize the structure of the outflows. These molecules are heated to temperatures of thousands of degrees Celsius due to shocks.

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Space is pretty nice if you ask me.

source: ESA/WEP, NASA and CSA, T. Ray (Dublin Institute for Advanced Study)

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