James Webb discovered the coldest interstellar ice ever seen

James Webb, NASA’s newest space telescope, is not only expanding astronomers’ view into the depths of space, but it has now managed to record lower temperatures than previous research by scientists.

The James Webb Space Telescope, hailed as the most powerful space observatory, has discovered rich samples of pristine interstellar ice by probing the depths of a dense molecular cloud. These findings that in cold temperature minus 263 degrees CelsiusYus are the coldest ices ever measured.

To make his discovery, Webb studied an area scientists call Chameleon I. Located in the constellation Chameleon and about 500 light-years away from Earth, this region is one of the closest star-forming regions and hosts several young stars.

Molecules discovered in James Webb’s new mission

Chameleon I
James Webb’s image of the Chameleon I cloud

The scientists used light from the two stars NIR38 and J110621 to illuminate the surface of Chameleon I at infrared wavelengths. Different cloud molecules locked in ice absorb starlight at different infrared wavelengths. Astronomers then studied the effects, which are shown as depressions. With the help of this data, the researchers were able to determine how many molecules were present in Chameleon I.

They then provide the expected array of vital key compounds including: Water, carbon dioxide, Carbon monoxide, methane And Ammonia observed In their observations, they also found signs of Carbonyl sulfide ice It is mentioned that for the first time it makes possible to measure the amount of sulfur in molecular clouds.

Researchers also found that the simplest complex organic molecule, viz Methanol detected, which is expected to be an indicator of the complex chemical processes that occur in the early stages of the formation of a star and planet.

star formation

Molecular clouds like Chameleon I are said to be the birthplace of stars; Because their decay over time forms potentially rocky stars and planetary systems. However, the chemical composition of these systems and any other units that may exist in them is determined by the ices embedded deep within the molecular cloud.

Now, thanks to the powerful James Webb instrument, including its NIRCam infrared camera, astronomers have been able to probe the dusty heart of Chameleon I and discover ices in the early stages of its evolution.

In the coming months, the team plans to use the web data to calculate the size of the dust grains and the shape of the ice.

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