The creation of a new star is captured by the James Webb Telescope.

The most recent photograph from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope shows a rising star. NASA used Webb’s Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) to reveal previously concealed features of a protostar in the Taurus constellation’s dark cloud L1527. The protostar itself is buried behind the black band seen in the middle of the hourglass’s “neck.” The band is roughly the size of our own solar system and will give rise to additional planets in the future.


Light from the protostar leaks out to illuminate cavities created as material is ejected from the incubating star where it collides with surrounding matter. This is illustrated in Webb’s observation as blue and orange clouds. Blue clouds represent areas where the dust is thinnest, and orange pockets signify regions where the dust is thicker and less blue light is able to escape. The upper central region features bubble-like shapes which are due to sporadic ejections, or stellar “burps.”

Webb’s image also highlights filaments of molecular hydrogen that have been shocked by ejections from the protostar, stunting the formation of additional stars that would otherwise form throughout the surrounding cloud. Instead, the protostar dominates the space and takes the majority of material for itself.

NASA believes L1527 is only about 100,000 years old, an infant in the overall scope of space time. At present, it is mostly just a puffy clump of gas that is between 20 percent and 40 percent the mass of our Sun. For comparison, it is believed that our Sun is around 4.5 billion years old.

L1527 is considered a class 0 protostar meaning it is in the earliest stage of star formation. It has a long way to go before becoming a full-fledged star capable of producing its own energy through nuclear fusion of hydrogen. As the protostar continues to gather mass, its core will compress and its temperature will rise. Eventually, it will reach the threshold to start nuclear fusion.

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