A YOUNG star spewed colorful supersonic gas due to a gas collision in space, and an image of the event looks otherworldly.
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has captured a high-resolution near-infrared image of the amazing sight of a star called HH 211.
NASA released the image of the young star’s supersonic outflow on Thursday.
The new image provides approximately five to ten times higher spatial resolution of HH 211 than any previously captured image.
The colorful spear is called Herbig-Haro and is a “luminous region surrounding a newborn star,” according to NASA.
A Herbig-Haro occurs when “stellar winds, or streams of gas, emerging from these newborn stars form shock waves that collide at high speeds with nearby gas and dust,” NASA explained.
The young star is a class 0 protostar that is only a few tens of thousands of years old and has only about 8 percent of the mass of the Sun.
New stars are still embedded in the gas of the molecular cloud from which they formed.
The molecules become “excited” when colliding with space gases, creating bow shocks that cause outflow, NASA explained.
The molecules that emit infrared light from the discharge include hydrogen, carbon monoxide and silicon monoxide.
Infrared imaging helps astronomers better understand how the outflows work.
According to the team’s measurements, the speeds of the innermost outflow structures were around 48-60 miles per second.
After examining the images and HH 211, the team concluded that the colorful outflows must be made up mostly of molecules excited by weak shock waves that are not strong enough to break them.