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Horsehead Nebula close up – new images from the James Webb Telescope

Horsehead Nebula close up – new images from the James Webb Telescope

The Horsehead Nebula is one of the most striking objects in the sky. The latest images from the James Webb Telescope show never-before-seen details of the nebula.Image: ESA/Web

the Horsehead Nebula In the constellation Orion, it is one of the most striking objects in the sky – if you have a telescope, because due to its low brightness the nebula, which is about 1,300 light-years away, is not visible with the naked eye. The formation, which was discovered in 1887 and is actually reminiscent of a horse's head, is part of Giant gas and dust cloud Orion BWhat's called Dark cloud They are large clouds of interstellar matter that absorb light from objects behind them.

The nebula's silhouette, which astronomers also call Barnard 33 (B 33), stands out clearly from the reddish glow. Emission nebula IC 434 From, which lies on the same line of sight as the celestial equator and is also part of Orion B. The Horsehead Nebula has become an astronomical icon thanks to the occasional beautiful photo taken of it. Images from the Hubble Telescope and the Euclid Space Telescope in particular have set standards.

Image of emission nebula IC 434 with the Horsehead Nebula in the center of the image.  https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5586938

The reddish emission nebula IC 434 with the Horsehead Nebula stands out darkly in the lower center of the image.picture: Wikimedia/hooholics

Unprecedented sharpness

But these recordings can't do that either The latest infrared images from the James Webb Space Telescope Images show the nebula's complex structure in a new light and with previously unattainable spatial resolution. Webb's new images focus mainly on the bright edge of the upper part of the nebula's characteristic dust and gas structure.

This image shows three views of one of the most distinctive objects in our sky, the Horsehead Nebula.  This object is located in a part of the sky in the constellation Orion (the Hunter) to the west...

The image on the left, released in November 2023, shows the Horsehead Nebula in its surroundings. It was captured by the European Space Agency's Euclid telescope in the visible and infrared bands in about an hour. Euclid can photograph areas of the sky very quickly and in high detail. The middle image, released in 2013, focuses on the nebula itself, an infrared image from the Hubble Telescope that shows tiny structures usually obscured by dust. The photo on the right was taken by Near infrared camera (NIRCam) From the Webb Telescope, it zooms in on a region at the top of the nebula and reveals previously unseen details of its structure. picture: ESA/Web
NASA, ESA and CSA's James Webb Space Telescope has captured the sharpest infrared images yet of one of the most distinctive objects in our sky, the Horsehead Nebula.  These notes appear aside...

Image captured by Webb-NIRCam with greater resolution. The curved wall of dense gas, smoke and dust at the bottom of the image represents a small portion of the top of the Horsehead Nebula. Many distant stars and galaxies can be seen above. The six large rays and two smaller rays emanating from the bright star in the upper center of the image are Diffraction peaks in images from the Webb telescope. picture: ESA/Web
NASA, ESA and CSA's James Webb Space Telescope has captured the sharpest infrared images yet of one of the most distinctive objects in our sky, the Horsehead Nebula.  These notes appear aside...

Details of the top of the Horsehead Nebula, taken from Mid Infrared Instrument (MIRI) From the Webb telescope. The clouds can be seen up close here and show thick white lines and dark voids as well as organized patterns of out-of-focus dust and gas. The edge of the cloud ends in spiky structures. picture: ESA/Web
Picture after

Photo from before
Images from Webb's NIRCam instrument (left) and MIRI instrument (right) are compared.source: ESA/Web

Colors of satellite images

Most of the telescopes to which we owe our wonderful images work with sensors that produce only shades of gray, even in the regions of electromagnetic waves that are invisible to us—such as radio, infrared, ultraviolet, or X-rays. While a natural color image can be created from grayscale images in the visually visible area using color filters, this is not possible in the non-visible areas. However, it is possible to create an analog false color image. Each gray level, or density, of a digital image is assigned a color. With the help of such colors, additional information about a recorded object – such as temperature or gas composition – can be better displayed, because the human eye is less able to distinguish between shades of grey.
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Another five million years

The Horsehead Nebula, about five light-years across, formed from a cloud of interstellar matter that has since collapsed. The gas clouds surrounding the horse's head had already disappeared; However, the towering nebula's plume is made of denser material and does not spread out into space as easily. Astronomers estimate that the Horsehead Nebula will continue to exist for another five million years before dissipating.

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The Horsehead Nebula does not glow on its own because, as we mentioned, it is a dark cloud. fog We are It is not easy to notice visuallyBecause their surface brightness is usually too low for our eyes. However, using photographic methods, even faint nebulae can be made visible because light-sensitive sensors can be exposed for a very long time.

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Great pictures of the Horsehead Nebula

The Horsehead Nebula is part of a dark cloud in the constellation Orion and is composed of dense interstellar material.

Source: shutterstock

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Photon controlled region (PDR)

Like a cocoon, the Horsehead Nebula envelops massive young stars. When its ultraviolet light hits the surface of an interstellar molecular cloud such as the Horse Nebula, UV photons locally heat the gas Thus changing its properties. A region of warm, mostly neutral gas and dust, called the photon-dominated region (PDR), is created.

This PDR is located between the fully ionized gas surrounding massive stars and the clouds in which they were born. It is a region where interstellar gas is dense enough to remain neutral, but not dense enough to block the entry of ultraviolet radiation.

The light from these PDRs provides astronomers with a unique view of the physical and chemical processes that drive the evolution of interstellar matter in many places in the universe, including our galaxy. Therefore, the Horsehead Nebula is not only a beautiful object in space, but it is also considered one of the most suitable places to study the interaction between radiation and interstellar matter. (turn)

The Horsehead Nebula as seen through the Webb Telescope:

“The James Webb Space Telescope provides stunning images of the Horsehead Nebula.”video: YouTube/Video from Space

This is what the universe looks like, images taken from the Webb Telescope

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This is what the universe looks like, images taken from the Webb Telescope

Galaxy cluster SMACS 0723, imaged by the Webb Telescope, released in July 2022. (NASA/ESA/CSA via AP)

Source: Keystone

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The most beautiful satellite images of 2023

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The most beautiful satellite images of 2023

Young stars in couple dancing
Here we see a closely related pair of actively forming stars, captured at high near-infrared resolution by the James Webb Telescope's NIRCam. These are protostars Object Herbig Harrow 46/47 (HH 46/47).

Source: NASA, European Space Agency, Canadian Space Agency

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Giant Gyro: The first test of the largest telescope in the world

Video: Watson

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