NASA unveils a fascinating new photo from 200,000 light-years away – and it holds a mighty secret
NASA is using the James Webb Space Telescope to study one of the Milky Way’s nearest neighbors.
The tiny galaxy is about 200,000 light-years from Earth — and may be home to one of astronomers’ biggest unanswered questions.
Scientists are using the $10 billion James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) to map how our universe formed.
In the neighboring galaxy, known as NGC 246, scientists are using the telescope to understand how the universe’s earliest stars formed more than 10 billion years ago.
NGC 346 is a star cluster embedded in a nebula called the Small Magellanic Cloud.
The galaxy, which appears to lack metals heavier than hydrogen and helium, is thick with about 33,000 young stars.
The metal concentrations in the galaxy suggest this is what the universe looked like in its early history, producing stars left, right and center.
Using the JWST’s infrared camera, astronomers found “bands of gas and dust” in the galaxy.
Researchers believe this is early evidence that while the galaxy is low in metals, it is dusty — and therefore has the building blocks for rocky planetary systems to form.
Some of the massive baby stars known to astronomers as young stellar objects (YSOs) have formed in the last 1 million years.
Astronomers will be watching these young stars to find out how the oldest stars in the universe were born.
“We were so excited to see the dust around these things,” said Margaret Meixner, an astronomer at the Universities Space Research Association and one of the study’s authors.
“We’ve only just scratched the surface of this data.”
However, researchers still have a long way to go.
It’s not known if enough dust survives the star-forming process to help form rocky planetary systems in a “metal-poor” galaxy.
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https://www.thesun.ie/tech/10075487/nasa-reveals-new-photo-light-years-away/ NASA unveils a fascinating new photo from 200,000 light-years away – and it holds a mighty secret