The Cozy Cocoon For The Star

Sep, 2022 - By SMI

The Cozy Cocoon For The Star

While the molecules outside the pillar are being destroyed by the abrasive stellar wind from the nebula's enormous young stars, they are retained within, creating a comfortable cocoon for the star. 

The bubble which spectra reveal is actually filled with molecular hydrogen and complex hydrocarbons, seems to be outside instead. This suggests that the bubble is actually the peak of a thick pillar of gas and dust that is being irradiated by radiation from the group of giant young stars to its lower right. Due to the lack of significant colour contrast with the surroundings, it does not look as pillar-like as some other nebula formations.

This star was observed by NIRSpec when it was just starting to emerge from the protective cloud where it had formed; it was still too young to be blowing bubbles to clear its surroundings. It would not have been feasible to find this star birth in progress without Webb's infrared wavelength resolution.

A group of European firms under the leadership of Airbus Defence and Space (ADS) constructed NIRSpec for the European Space Agency (ESA), with the detector and micro-shutter subsystems coming from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

NIRSpec recorded a very young star doing exactly that. Astronomers formerly thought that this star could be a little older and is clearing away a bubble around itself. According to NIRSpec, the star was still surrounded by an insulating dust cloud and was only starting to emerge from its pillar. This instance of star formation-in-action would not have been possible to find without Webb's high-resolution infrared spectra.

The region seems to be unique because Webb's Mid-Infrared Instrument uses longer infrared wavelengths (MIRI). As the brilliant stars begin to go, the cooler gas and dust begin to shimmer. Protostars that are still accumulating mass can be seen as points of light within the stellar nursery clouds

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