Koński Łeb w Kosmosie. NASA publikuje fantastyczne zdęcia

Horsehead in Space. NASA publishes fantastic photos

The James Webb Space Telescope has taken the sharpest infrared images ever of a magnified part of one of the most iconic objects in our sky, the Horsehead Nebula. NASA showed off new photos.

The photo captured by the telescope shows the upper part of the “horse's mane”, or simply the edge of this iconic nebula, in a completely new way. The resulting photograph shows the complexity of that place with unprecedented spatial resolution. The photo was taken using Webb's NIRCam (Near-infrared Camera).

NASA Horsehead Nebula

What was hidden in the mane?

The ethereal clouds that appear blue in the lower part of the image are dominated by cold, molecular hydrogen. The red streaks stretching above the main nebula represent mainly atomic hydrogen, NASA explains. As with many of Webb's images, distant galaxies are visible in the background.

NASA Horsehead Nebula

Emerging from waves of dust and gas, the Horsehead Nebula, also known as Barnard 33, lies approximately 1,300 light-years from Earth. This nebula formed from a collapsing cloud of interstellar material. It also reflects the light of a nearby star. Astronomers estimate that the Horsehead has about five million years left before it completely disintegrates.

NASA Horsehead Nebula

Thanks to Webb's MIRI and NIRCam instruments, an international team of astronomers revealed for the first time small-scale structures of the illuminated rim of Horse's Head. When ultraviolet light evaporates a dust cloud, dust particles are thrown out of the cloud and carried away with the heated gas, NASA explains on its website. The Webb Telescope detected a network of thin structures tracking this motion. The observations also allowed astronomers to study how dust blocks and emits light, and to better understand the nebula's multidimensional shape. Now astronomers plan to analyze the obtained spectroscopic data to gain insight into the evolution of the physical and chemical properties of the material observed throughout the nebula.

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