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- Sagittarius C region offers a window into the galaxy's unknown phenomena
- Astronomers set to explore unexplained structures and star formation secrets
A journey into the galactic unknown
NASA's James Webb Space Telescope has brought into focus the dense heart of our galaxy, the Milky Way, revealing features that have never been seen before. The star-forming region Sagittarius C, located near the galaxy's central supermassive black hole, Sagittarius A*, stands out for its unexplained and unprecedented details.
The Webb telescope's advanced infrared imaging has exposed aspects of the Sagittarius C region that were previously hidden. This new perspective is reshaping our understanding of star formation in the galaxy's most extreme environments.
Unraveling the mysteries of the Milky Way
The image captured by the Webb telescope is a mosaic of cosmic enigmas. Among the myriad of stars lies a cluster of protostars, still forming and amassing material. The heart of this young cluster is a massive protostar, more than 30 times the mass of our Sun. Around these emerging stars, infrared-dark clouds create an illusion of sparseness, though they actually mark one of the densest areas in the image.
The Webb's NIRCam has also identified vast emissions from ionized hydrogen, shown in cyan in the image. These emissions typically indicate the presence of young, massive stars. However, the surprising extent of the region and the presence of unusual, needle-like structures within the ionized hydrogen have piqued the curiosity of astronomers and challenged existing theories.
The tumultuous heart of our galaxy
Rubén Fedriani, a project co-investigator, describes the galactic center as a crowded, tumultuous place, brimming with turbulent, magnetized gas clouds that birth stars. These nascent stars then impact their surroundings, creating a dynamic and complex environment.
The data from the Webb telescope is just beginning to be explored, promising new insights into these extreme conditions.