Author Topic: NASA - James Webb Space Telescope - Updates Thread  (Read 200275 times)

Offline JulesVerneATV

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Re: NASA - James Webb Space Telescope - Updates Thread
« Reply #460 on: 10/03/2023 05:12 pm »
Anton Petrov | JWST Reveals a Few More Warped Anomalies We Can't Explain

https://jwstfeed.com/PostView/FeedPost?ci=1696284032_oiDAcGWgUcg

Offline leovinus

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Re: NASA - James Webb Space Telescope - Updates Thread
« Reply #461 on: 10/03/2023 10:06 pm »
I wonder if some media outlets have jumped the gun on this as the relevant image doesn’t appear on the ESA website, nor is there any sign of the preprint yet.

[snip]

Jupiter Mass Binary Objects in the Trapezium Cluster
Authors: Samuel G Pearson, Mark J McCaughrean
https://arxiv.org/abs/2310.01231

Quote
Abstract

A key outstanding question in star and planet formation is how far the initial mass function of stars and sub-stellar objects extends, and whether or not there is a cut- off at the very lowest masses. Isolated objects in the planetary-mass domain below 13 Jupiter masses, where not even deuterium can fuse, are very challenging to observe as these objects are inherently faint. Nearby star-forming regions provide the best opportunity to search for them though: while they are young, they are still relatively warm and luminous at infrared wavelengths. Previous surveys have discovered a handful of such sources down to 3–5 Jupiter masses, around the minimum mass limit established for formation via the fragmentation of molecular clouds, but does the mass function extend further? In a new James Webb Space Telescope near-infrared survey of the inner Orion Nebula and Trapezium Cluster, we have discovered and characterised a sample of 540 planetary-mass candidates with masses down to 0.6 Jupiter masses, demonstrating that there is indeed no sharp cut-off in the mass function. Furthermore, we find that 9% of the planetary- mass objects are in wide binaries, a result that is highly unexpected and which challenges current theories of both star and planet formation

PS: Jupiter Mass Binary Objects was abbreviated as JuMBO at BBC a few days ago in https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-66974738

Offline Star One

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Re: NASA - James Webb Space Telescope - Updates Thread
« Reply #462 on: 10/04/2023 10:51 am »
I wonder if some media outlets have jumped the gun on this as the relevant image doesn’t appear on the ESA website, nor is there any sign of the preprint yet.

[snip]

Jupiter Mass Binary Objects in the Trapezium Cluster
Authors: Samuel G Pearson, Mark J McCaughrean
https://arxiv.org/abs/2310.01231

Quote
Abstract

A key outstanding question in star and planet formation is how far the initial mass function of stars and sub-stellar objects extends, and whether or not there is a cut- off at the very lowest masses. Isolated objects in the planetary-mass domain below 13 Jupiter masses, where not even deuterium can fuse, are very challenging to observe as these objects are inherently faint. Nearby star-forming regions provide the best opportunity to search for them though: while they are young, they are still relatively warm and luminous at infrared wavelengths. Previous surveys have discovered a handful of such sources down to 3–5 Jupiter masses, around the minimum mass limit established for formation via the fragmentation of molecular clouds, but does the mass function extend further? In a new James Webb Space Telescope near-infrared survey of the inner Orion Nebula and Trapezium Cluster, we have discovered and characterised a sample of 540 planetary-mass candidates with masses down to 0.6 Jupiter masses, demonstrating that there is indeed no sharp cut-off in the mass function. Furthermore, we find that 9% of the planetary- mass objects are in wide binaries, a result that is highly unexpected and which challenges current theories of both star and planet formation

PS: Jupiter Mass Binary Objects was abbreviated as JuMBO at BBC a few days ago in https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-66974738
I looked for an update story on this along with the pre-print yesterday and couldn’t find anything so thanks for this.

Offline Star One

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NASA - James Webb Space Telescope - Updates Thread
« Reply #463 on: 10/05/2023 04:25 pm »
Quote
The James Webb Space Telescope has helped demystify the strange 2009 observation of a giant star about 25 times more massive than the sun that appeared to disappear from existence.

In 2009, astronomers observed what they believed was a giant star about 25 times more massive than the sun, increasing its brightness to a million suns as if it was about to explode into a supernova, then suddenly fading instead of exploding.



Quote
The yet-to-be peer-reviewed research reports not one remnant object in the position of the star, but three, making the failed supernova model less likely.

Researchers now suspect that the 2009 brightening observation was rather likely caused by two stars merging.

The brightening they say may have been due to two stars merging, which then faded.

Researchers say the failed supernova model can still not be completely ruled out.

https://www.independent.co.uk/space/massive-star-vanished-webb-telescope-b2424399.html

Related paper:

https://arxiv.org/abs/2309.16121
« Last Edit: 10/05/2023 04:26 pm by Star One »

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Re: NASA - James Webb Space Telescope - Updates Thread
« Reply #464 on: 10/12/2023 07:24 pm »
https://flic.kr/p/2p8QRa2

Quote
NASA’s Webb Captures an Ethereal View of NGC 346

One of the greatest strengths of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is its ability to give astronomers detailed views of areas where new stars are being born. The latest example, showcased here in a new image from Webb’s Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI), is NGC 346 – the brightest and largest star-forming region in the Small Magellanic Cloud.
 
The Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) is a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way, visible to the unaided eye in the southern constellation Tucana. This small companion galaxy is more primeval than the Milky Way in that it possesses fewer heavy elements, which are forged in stars through nuclear fusion and supernova explosions, compared to our own galaxy.
 
Since cosmic dust is formed from heavy elements like silicon and oxygen, scientists expected the SMC to lack significant amounts of dust. However the new MIRI image, as well as a previous image of NGC 346 from Webb’s Near-Infrared Camera released in January, show ample dust within this region.
 
In this representative-color image, blue tendrils trace emission from material that includes dusty silicates and sooty chemical molecules known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs. More diffuse red emission shines from warm dust heated by the brightest and most massive stars in the heart of the region. An arc at the center left may be a reflection of light from the star near the arc’s center. (Similar, fainter arcs appear associated with stars at lower left and upper right.) Lastly, bright patches and filaments mark areas with abundant numbers of protostars. The research team looked for the reddest stars, and found 1,001 pinpoint sources of light, most of them young stars still embedded in their dusty cocoons.
 
Image credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, N. Habel (JPL). Image Processing: P. Kavanagh (Maynooth University)

Offline Star One

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Re: NASA - James Webb Space Telescope - Updates Thread
« Reply #465 on: 10/17/2023 08:20 am »
Quote
Researchers using NASA's James Webb Space Telescope have detected evidence for quartz nanocrystals in the high-altitude clouds of WASP-17 b, a hot Jupiter exoplanet 1,300 light-years from Earth.

The detection, which was uniquely possible with MIRI (Webb's Mid-Infrared Instrument), marks the first time that silica (SiO2) particles have been spotted in an exoplanet atmosphere.

https://phys.org/news/2023-10-webb-quartz-crystals-clouds-hot.html

Related paper:

https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.3847/2041-8213/acfc3b

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Re: NASA - James Webb Space Telescope - Updates Thread
« Reply #466 on: 10/19/2023 07:20 pm »
https://www.nasa.gov/missions/webb/nasas-webb-discovers-new-feature-in-jupiters-atmosphere/

Quote
NASA’s Webb Discovers New Feature in Jupiter’s Atmosphere

NASA Webb Telescope Team
OCT 19, 2023
ARTICLE
CONTENTS
Image: Webb's View of Jupiter
Image: Jupiter's Equatorial Jet Stream
Image: Jupiter's Winds
Image: Zoom in on Webb's View of Jupiter

Narrow jet stream near equator has winds traveling 320 miles per hour

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has discovered a new, never-before-seen feature in Jupiter’s atmosphere. The high-speed jet stream, which spans more than 3,000 miles (4,800 kilometers) wide, sits over Jupiter’s equator above the main cloud decks. The discovery of this jet is giving insights into how the layers of Jupiter’s famously turbulent atmosphere interact with each other, and how Webb is uniquely capable of tracking those features.

Image: Webb’s View of Jupiter

Jupiter dominates the black background of space. The image is a composite, and shows Jupiter in enhanced color, featuring the planet’s famous Great Red Spot, which appears white with light pink around the edges. The planet is striated with swirling horizontal stripes of green, periwinkle, light pink, and cream. Horizontally across the equator is a wide cream-colored band, whose height extends about 1/7 of the planet. This is the planet’s equatorial zone. The stripes across the planet interact and mix at their edges. Along both of the northern and southern poles, the planet glows in green. Bright red auroras glow just above the planet’s surface at both poles.

This image of Jupiter from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope’s NIRCam (Near-Infrared Camera) shows stunning details of the majestic planet in infrared light. In this image, brightness indicates high altitude. The numerous bright white ‘spots’ and ‘streaks’ are likely very high-altitude cloud tops of condensed convective storms. Auroras, appearing in red in this image, extend to higher altitudes above both the northern and southern poles of the planet. By contrast, dark ribbons north of the equatorial region have little cloud cover.

Image: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, R. Hueso (University of the Basque Country), I. de Pater (University of California, Berkeley), T. Fouchet (Observatory of Paris), L. Fletcher (University of Leicester), M. Wong (University of California, Berkeley), J. DePasquale (STScI)

“This is something that totally surprised us,” said Ricardo Hueso of the University of the Basque Country in Bilbao, Spain, lead author on the paper describing the findings. “What we have always seen as blurred hazes in Jupiter’s atmosphere now appear as crisp features that we can track along with the planet’s fast rotation.”

The research team analyzed data from Webb’s NIRCam (Near-Infrared Camera) captured in July 2022. The Early Release Science program – jointly led by Imke de Pater from the University of California, Berkeley and Thierry Fouchet from the Observatory of Paris – was designed to take images of Jupiter 10 hours apart, or one Jupiter day, in four different filters, each uniquely able to detect changes in small features at different altitudes of Jupiter’s atmosphere.

“Even though various ground-based telescopes, spacecraft like NASA’s Juno and Cassini, and NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have observed the Jovian system’s changing weather patterns, Webb has already provided new findings on Jupiter’s rings, satellites, and its atmosphere,” de Pater noted.

While Jupiter is different from Earth in many ways – Jupiter is a gas giant, Earth is a rocky, temperate world – both planets have layered atmospheres. Infrared, visible, radio, and ultraviolet light wavelengths observed by these other missions detect the lower, deeper layers of the planet’s atmosphere – where gigantic storms and ammonia ice clouds reside.

Image: Jupiter’s Equatorial Jet Stream

The infographic shows Webb’s image of Jupiter at the left. The planet is striated with swirling horizontal stripes of neon turquoise, periwinkle, and cream. Below the planet, the NIRCam filters and their respective colors assigned are listed – F164N in blue, F212N in green, and F360M in red. On the right side of the infographic, there are 8 separate images. Two of those images are horizontal and span the entire right half of the infographic. The top horizontal image is labeled F212N 10:52 UT and the bottom is labeled F212N 20:55 UT. They are zoomed-in pullouts from a section of Jupiter’s equator—outlined in a white box on the image of the planet on the left. Both of these images are white and grey with horizontal wispy clouds. There are 6 smaller boxes in between the two horizontal images—3 rows of 2. The first column of the boxes is outlined in orange, the second column purple and the third yellow. Each of the smaller images correspond to orange, purple, and yellow boxes placed along the horizontal images.

This image of Jupiter from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope’s NIRCam (Near-Infrared Camera) shows stunning details of the majestic planet in infrared light. In this image, brightness indicates high altitude. The numerous bright white ‘spots’ and ‘streaks’ are likely very high-altitude cloud tops of condensed convective storms. Auroras, appearing in red in this image, extend to higher altitudes above both the northern and southern poles of the planet. By contrast, dark ribbons north of the equatorial region have little cloud cover. In Webb’s images of Jupiter from July 2022, researchers recently discovered a narrow jet stream traveling 320 miles per hour (515 kilometers per hour) sitting over Jupiter’s equator above the main cloud decks.

Image: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, R. Hueso (University of the Basque Country), I. de Pater (University of California, Berkeley), T. Fouchet (Observatory of Paris), L. Fletcher (University of Leicester), M. Wong (University of California, Berkeley), J. DePasquale (STScI)

On the other hand, Webb’s look farther into the near-infrared than before is sensitive to the higher-altitude layers of the atmosphere, around 15-30 miles (25-50 kilometers) above Jupiter’s cloud tops. In near-infrared imaging, high-altitude hazes typically appear blurry, with enhanced brightness over the equatorial region. With Webb, finer details are resolved within the bright hazy band.

The newly discovered jet stream travels at about 320 miles per hour (515 kilometers per hour), twice the sustained winds of a Category 5 hurricane here on Earth. It is located around 25 miles (40 kilometers) above the clouds, in Jupiter’s lower stratosphere.

By comparing the winds observed by Webb at high altitudes, to the winds observed at deeper layers from Hubble, the team could measure how fast the winds change with altitude and generate wind shears.

Image: Jupiter’s Winds

A portion of the graphic that displays wind speeds on Jupiter at different altitudes. The portion of this graphic shows the ends of three arrows that travel across the graphic from the left to the right. The top most arrow (colored in sky blue) extends the farthest right to about 3/4 the way across the graphic, the middle arrow (colored in periwinkle) extends to a little less than halfway across the graphic, and the bottom arrow (colored in light grey) extends to about 1/4 the way across the graphic. Extending out below each arrow is a cone of the same color to indicate the +/- error margin. There is Webb's image of Jupiter in the background of the graphic.

Researchers using NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope’s NIRCam (Near-Infrared Camera) have discovered a high-speed jet stream sitting over Jupiter’s equator, above the main cloud decks. At a wavelength of 2.12 microns, which observes between altitudes of about 12-21 miles (20-35 kilometers) above Jupiter’s cloud tops, researchers spotted several wind shears, or areas where wind speeds change with height or with distance, which enabled them to track the jet. This image highlights several of the features around Jupiter’s equatorial zone that, between one rotation of the planet (10 hours), are very clearly disturbed by the motion of the jet stream.

Image : NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, Image: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, R. Hueso (University of the Basque Country), I. de Pater (University of California, Berkeley), T. Fouchet (Observatory of Paris), L. Fletcher (University of Leicester), M. Wong (University of California, Berkeley), A. James (STScI)

While Webb’s exquisite resolution and wavelength coverage allowed for the detection of small cloud features used to track the jet, the complementary observations from Hubble taken one day after the Webb observations were also crucial to determine the base state of Jupiter’s equatorial atmosphere and observe the development of convective storms in Jupiter’s equator not connected to the jet. 

“We knew the different wavelengths of Webb and Hubble would reveal the three-dimensional structure of storm clouds, but we were also able to use the timing of the data to see how rapidly storms develop,” added team member Michael Wong of the University of California, Berkeley, who led the associated Hubble observations.

The researchers are looking forward to additional observations of Jupiter with Webb to determine if the jet’s speed and altitude change over time.

Image: Zoom in on Webb’s View of Jupiter

Jupiter dominates the black background of space. The image is a composite, and shows Jupiter in enhanced color, featuring the planet’s famous Great Red Spot, which appears white with light pink around the edges. The planet is striated with swirling horizontal stripes of green, periwinkle, light pink, and cream. Horizontally across the equator is a wide cream-colored band, whose height extends about 1/7 of the planet. This is the planet’s equatorial zone. The stripes across the planet interact and mix at their edges. Along both of the northern and southern poles, the planet glows in green. Bright red auroras glow just above the planet’s surface at both poles.

A zoomed in view of Webb’s Jupiter image.
Image: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, R. Hueso (University of the Basque Country), I. de Pater (University of California, Berkeley), T. Fouchet (Observatory of Paris), L. Fletcher (University of Leicester), M. Wong (University of California, Berkeley), J. DePasquale (STScI)
“Jupiter has a complicated but repeatable pattern of winds and temperatures in its equatorial stratosphere, high above the winds in the clouds and hazes measured at these wavelengths,” explained team member Leigh Fletcher of the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom. “If the strength of this new jet is connected to this oscillating stratospheric pattern, we might expect the jet to vary considerably over the next 2 to 4 years – it’ll be really exciting to test this theory in the years to come.”

“It’s amazing to me that, after years of tracking Jupiter’s clouds and winds from numerous observatories, we still have more to learn about Jupiter, and features like this jet can remain hidden from view until these new NIRCam images were taken in 2022,” continued Fletcher.

The researchers’ results were recently published in Nature Astronomy.

The James Webb Space Telescope is the world’s premier space science observatory. Webb is solving mysteries in our solar system, looking beyond to distant worlds around other stars, and probing the mysterious structures and origins of our universe and our place in it. Webb is an international program led by NASA with its partners, ESA (European Space Agency) and the Canadian Space Agency.
« Last Edit: 10/19/2023 07:22 pm by FutureSpaceTourist »

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Re: NASA - James Webb Space Telescope - Updates Thread
« Reply #467 on: 10/25/2023 04:26 pm »
https://twitter.com/nasawebb/status/1717198085955215468

Quote
Three explosions, two stars, and a rare discovery.

Webb recently detected tellurium, an element rarer than platinum on Earth, in the explosive aftermath of two neutron stars merging. The detection may help reshape our understanding of the cosmos: https://nasa.gov/missions/webb/nasas-webb-makes-first-detection-of-heavy-element-from-star-merger/
Thread👇

In a distant galaxy, there was once a pair of stars bound by gravity. Then one star exploded. What remained was its collapsed core, a dense remnant called a neutron star. The explosion launched the neutron star outward and pulled along its companion, still tied to it by gravity.

The second star would eventually follow suit. It, too, exploded and transformed into a neutron star. This second explosion would eject the pair even farther — 120,000 light-years away from where they started.

Several hundred million years later, the companions (now neutron stars) violently merged. This triggered both a gamma-ray burst and its kilonova. Gamma-ray bursts are extremely bright, short blasts of gamma-ray light, the most energetic form of light.

This gamma-ray burst, GRB 230307A, was first detected by the Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope in March 2023. Lasting 200 seconds, it was atypically long and bright for its category. In fact, it is the second brightest gamma-ray burst ever observed!

Accompanying the gamma-ray burst was a kilonova, which occurs when a neutron star merges with another neutron star or a black hole. Kilonovas were long thought to create many of the heavier elements we're familiar with, like gold in our jewelry or iodine in our blood.

A team of telescopes, including NASA’s Swift Observatory, helped identify the kilonova from the ground and from space. With its highly sensitive infrared eye, Webb helped scientists find out the home address of the two neutron stars.

Webb displays a clear detection of tellurium in its data — the first time a heavy element has been detected from a kilonova. With this discovery, astronomers believe Webb can find even more kilonovas and acquire further evidence of neutron star mergers creating heavy elements.

Image caption:

Quote
Bright galaxies and other light sources in various sizes and shapes are scattered across a black swath of space: small points, hazy elliptical-like smudges with halos, and spiral-shaped blobs. The objects vary in color: white, blue-white, yellow-white, and orange-red. Toward the center right is a blue-white spiral galaxy seen face-on that is larger than the other light sources in the image. The galaxy is labeled “former home galaxy.” Toward the upper left is a small red point, which has a white circle around it and is labeled “GRB 230307A kilonova.”

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Re: NASA - James Webb Space Telescope - Updates Thread
« Reply #469 on: 10/29/2023 09:42 pm »
https://twitter.com/haygenwarren/status/1718733454332797197

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Using Webb, scientists have discovered a high-speed jet stream at Jupiter’s equator. Webb first observed the jet stream in July 2022, and its images allowed scientists to measure winds up to 515 kilometers per hour.

Martijn Luinstra with the details ⬇️

https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2023/10/jovian-jetstream/

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Re: NASA - James Webb Space Telescope - Updates Thread
« Reply #470 on: 10/30/2023 06:43 pm »
https://twitter.com/nasawebb/status/1718993338362401229

Quote
It’s Monday. Feeling crabby? 🦀

6,500 light-years away lies the Crab Nebula, the remains of an exploded star. While it is a well-studied target, Webb’s infrared sensitivity and resolution offer new clues into the makeup and origins of this nebula:

https://www.nasa.gov/missions/webb/the-crab-nebula-seen-in-new-light-by-nasas-webb/

Quote
A crab collab 🤝

On the left is @NASAHubble’s 2005 view of the Crab Nebula, taken in optical light. On the right is Webb’s new look, taken in infrared light. By combining observations of this target, astronomers can deepen their understanding of the star life cycle.

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Re: NASA - James Webb Space Telescope - Updates Thread
« Reply #471 on: 10/31/2023 09:59 am »
Video of the above:


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NASA - James Webb Space Telescope - Updates Thread
« Reply #472 on: 11/09/2023 04:12 pm »
Quote
The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has discovered that nearly all of the universe's earliest galaxies were filled with dazzling gas clouds that blazed brighter than the emerging stars within them — and it could help solve a mystery that threatens to break cosmology.



Quote
Now, astronomers have found a possible answer: a large group of 12 billion-year-old galaxies almost 90% of which were wreathed in bright gas that — after being ignited by light from the surrounding stars — triggered intense bursts of star formation as the gas cooled. The new research has been accepted for publication  in The Astrophysical Journal.

https://www.livescience.com/space/astronomy/james-webb-telescope-finds-an-extreme-glow-coming-from-90-of-the-universes-earliest-galaxies
« Last Edit: 11/09/2023 04:13 pm by Star One »

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Re: NASA - James Webb Space Telescope - Updates Thread
« Reply #473 on: 11/15/2023 04:34 pm »
Quote
Nasa’s James Webb space telescope has revealed a planet where specks of sand fall as rain, in groundbreaking observations.
The planet, Wasp-107b, lies 200 light years away in the Virgo constellation and had already caught the attention of astronomers because it is very large but very light, earning it the nickname the “candy floss” planet. The latest observations give an unprecedented glimpse of a strange and exotic world beyond our solar system that features silicate sand clouds and rain, scorching temperatures, raging winds and the distinct burnt-matches scent of sulphur dioxide.

https://amp.theguardian.com/science/2023/nov/15/planet-where-it-rains-sand-revealed-by-nasa-telescope-wasp-107b

Related paper:

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-023-06849-0.epdf

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Re: NASA - James Webb Space Telescope - Updates Thread
« Reply #474 on: 12/02/2023 12:13 am »
In a new discovery released on Nov 30, 2023, Webb Telescope's Lobster Nebula Expedition Unravels Rocky Planet Origins. Read more here - https://www.jameswebbdiscovery.com/discoveries/webb-telescopes-lobster-nebula-expedition-unravels-rocky-planet-origins

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Re: NASA - James Webb Space Telescope - Updates Thread
« Reply #475 on: 12/04/2023 07:53 pm »
https://flic.kr/p/2pjhKkg

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NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center
Webb Telescope: A Prominent Protostar in Perseus


Webb Telescope: A Prominent Protostar in Perseus
This new picture from the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope reveals intricate details of the Herbig Haro object 797 (HH 797). Herbig-Haro objects are luminous regions surrounding newborn stars (known as protostars), and are formed when stellar winds or jets of gas spewing from these newborn stars form shockwaves colliding with nearby gas and dust at high speeds. HH 797, which dominates the lower half of this image, is located close to the young open star cluster IC 348, which is located near the eastern edge of the Perseus dark cloud complex. The bright infrared objects in the upper portion of the image are thought to host two further protostars.
 
Image credit: ESA/Webb, NASA & CSA, T. Ray (Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies)

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Re: NASA - James Webb Space Telescope - Updates Thread
« Reply #476 on: 12/06/2023 04:38 pm »
Quote
A Dutch-led international team of astronomers has made the first two-dimensional inventory of ice in a planet-forming disk of dust and gas surrounding a young star. They used the James Webb Space Telescope and have published their findings in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.



Quote
The researchers studied the starlight from the young star HH 48 NE as it passes through its planet-forming disk towards the space telescope. The star and disk are located about 600 light years from Earth in the southern constellation Chameleon. The disk appears like a hamburger, with a dark central lane and two bright buns because we are looking at it from the side, edge-on.



Quote
The researchers observed distinct peaks of water ice (H2O), carbon dioxide ice (CO2), and carbon monoxide ice (CO) in the absorption spectra. Furthermore, they found evidence of ice of ammonia (NH3), cyanate (OCN–), carbonyl sulfide (OCS), and heavy carbon dioxide (13CO2).

https://phys.org/news/2023-12-astronomers-picture-ice-planet-forming-disk.html

Related paper:

https://www.aanda.org/articles/aa/full_html/2023/11/aa47512-23/aa47512-23.html

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Re: NASA - James Webb Space Telescope - Updates Thread
« Reply #477 on: 12/11/2023 02:31 am »
Discovery Alert! In a new discovery released on December 10, 2023, Webb Telescope Unveils Cassiopeia A Supernova Remnant in Extreme Detail. Read details here - https://www.jameswebbdiscovery.com/discoveries/webb-telescope-unveils-cassiopeia-a-supernova-remnant-in-extreme-detail


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Re: NASA - James Webb Space Telescope - Updates Thread
« Reply #478 on: 12/13/2023 09:39 pm »
https://twitter.com/nasa_marshall/status/1735064528335909065

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A team using @NASAWebb has identified a new record holder: a tiny, free-floating brown dwarf with only three to four times the mass of Jupiter. Brown dwarfs straddle the dividing line between stars and planets.

Read more about this elf-sized one >>

https://www.nasa.gov/missions/webb/nasas-webb-identifies-tiniest-free-floating-brown-dwarf/

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NASA’s Webb Identifies Tiniest Free-Floating Brown Dwarf

DEC 13, 2023
ARTICLE

CONTENTS
What are the smallest stars?
Search Strategy
Image: Star Cluster IC438
A Mystery Molecule
Image: Three Brown Dwarfs
Brown Dwarf or Rogue Planet?

Brown dwarfs are objects that straddle the dividing line between stars and planets. They form like stars, growing dense enough to collapse under their own gravity, but they never become dense and hot enough to begin fusing hydrogen and turn into a star. At the low end of the scale, some brown dwarfs are comparable with giant planets, weighing just a few times the mass of Jupiter.

What are the smallest stars?

Astronomers are trying to determine the smallest object that can form in a star-like manner. A team using NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has identified the new record-holder: a tiny, free-floating brown dwarf with only three to four times the mass of Jupiter.

“One basic question you’ll find in every astronomy textbook is, what are the smallest stars? That’s what we’re trying to answer,” explained lead author Kevin Luhman of Pennsylvania State University.

Search Strategy

To locate this newfound brown dwarf, Luhman and his colleague, Catarina Alves de Oliveira, chose to study the star cluster IC 348, located about 1,000 light-years away in the Perseus star-forming region. This cluster is young, only about 5 million years old. As a result, any brown dwarfs would still be relatively bright in infrared light, glowing from the heat of their formation.

The team first imaged the center of the cluster using Webb’s NIRCam (Near-Infrared Camera) to identify brown dwarf candidates from their brightness and colors. They followed up on the most promising targets using Webb’s NIRSpec (Near-Infrared Spectrograph) microshutter array.

Image: Star Cluster IC438

Webb’s infrared sensitivity was crucial, allowing the team to detect fainter objects than ground-based telescopes. In addition, Webb’s sharp vision enabled them to determine which red objects were pinpoint brown dwarfs and which were blobby background galaxies.

This winnowing process led to three intriguing targets weighing three to eight Jupiter masses, with surface temperatures ranging from 1,500 to 2,800 degrees Fahrenheit (830 to 1,500 degrees Celsius). The smallest of these weighs just three to four times Jupiter, according to computer models.

Explaining how such a small brown dwarf could form is theoretically challenging. A heavy and dense cloud of gas has plenty of gravity to collapse and form a star. However, because of its weaker gravity, it should be more difficult for a small cloud to collapse to form a brown dwarf, and that is especially true for brown dwarfs with the masses of giant planets.

“It’s pretty easy for current models to make giant planets in a disk around a star,” said Catarina Alves de Oliveira of ESA (European Space Agency), principal investigator on the observing program. “But in this cluster, it would be unlikely this object formed in a disk, instead forming like a star, and three Jupiter masses is 300 times smaller than our Sun. So we have to ask, how does the star formation process operate at such very, very small masses?”

A Mystery Molecule

In addition to giving clues about the star-formation process, tiny brown dwarfs also can help astronomers better understand exoplanets. The least massive brown dwarfs overlap with the largest exoplanets; therefore, they would be expected to have some similar properties. However, a free-floating brown dwarf is easier to study than a giant exoplanet since the latter is hidden within the glare of its host star.

Two of the brown dwarfs identified in this survey show the spectral signature of an unidentified hydrocarbon, or molecule containing both hydrogen and carbon atoms. The same infrared signature was detected by NASA’s Cassini mission in the atmospheres of Saturn and its moon Titan. It has also been seen in the interstellar medium, or gas between stars.

“This is the first time we’ve detected this molecule in the atmosphere of an object outside our solar system,” explained Alves de Oliveira. “Models for brown dwarf atmospheres don’t predict its existence. We’re looking at objects with younger ages and lower masses than we ever have before, and we’re seeing something new and unexpected.”

Image: Three Brown Dwarfs

Brown Dwarf or Rogue Planet?

Since the objects are well within the mass range of giant planets, it raises the question of whether they are actually brown dwarfs, or if they’re really rogue planets that were ejected from planetary systems. While the team can’t rule out the latter, they argue that they are far more likely to be a brown dwarf than an ejected planet.

An ejected giant planet is unlikely for two reasons. First, such planets are uncommon in general compared to planets with smaller masses. Second, most stars are low-mass stars, and giant planets are especially rare among those stars. As a result, it’s unlikely that most of the stars in IC 348 (which are low-mass stars) are capable of producing such massive planets. In addition, since the cluster is only 5 million years old, there probably hasn’t been enough time for giant planets to form and then be ejected from their systems.

The discovery of more such objects will help clarify their status. Theories suggest that rogue planets are more likely to be found in the outskirts of a star cluster, so expanding the search area may identify them if they exist within IC 348.

Future work may also include longer surveys that can detect fainter, smaller objects. The short survey conducted by the team was expected to detect objects as small as twice the mass of Jupiter. Longer surveys could easily reach one Jupiter mass.

These observations were taken as part of Guaranteed Time Observation program 1229. The results were published in the Astronomical Journal.

The James Webb Space Telescope is the world’s premier space science observatory. Webb is solving mysteries in our solar system, looking beyond to distant worlds around other stars, and probing the mysterious structures and origins of our universe and our place in it. Webb is an international program led by NASA with its partners, ESA (European Space Agency) and the Canadian Space Agency.

Captions:

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This image from the NIRCam (Near-Infrared Camera) instrument on NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope shows the central portion of the star cluster IC 348. The wispy curtains filling the image are interstellar material reflecting the light from the cluster’s stars – what is known as a reflection nebula. The material also includes carbon-containing molecules known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs. Winds from the most massive stars in the cluster may help sculpt the large loop seen on the right side of the field of view.
NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, K. Luhman (Penn State University), and C. Alves de Oliveira (ESA)

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This image from the NIRCam (Near-Infrared Camera) instrument on NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope shows the central portion of the star cluster IC 348. Astronomers combed the cluster in search of tiny, free-floating brown dwarfs: objects too small to be stars but larger than most planets. They found three brown dwarfs that are less than eight times the mass of Jupiter, which are circled in the main image and shown in the detailed pullouts at right. The smallest weighs just three to four times Jupiter, challenging theories for star formation.
NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, K. Luhman (Penn State University), and C. Alves de Oliveira (ESA)

Offline jameswebbdiscoveries

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Discovery Alert! New Discovery Released on Dec 15, 2023 - JWST Breakthrough: Capturing the Birth of Stars in Triangulum Galaxy. Read more here - https://www.jameswebbdiscovery.com/astronomy-news/jwst-breakthrough-capturing-the-birth-of-stars-in-triangulum-galaxy

Dive into the cosmic wonders revealed by the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST)! 🌠 In a groundbreaking discovery, scientists have identified Young Stellar Objects (YSOs) in the distant galaxy M33, marking a historic first for astrophysics. 🌌💫

 

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