The James Webb Space Telescope has captured a Herbig-Haro (HH) region inhabited by a young star that has been classified by NASA as a “children’s analogue of our Sun”. This is a celestial object called HH 211, tens of thousands of years old, whose mass is only 8% of our 4.6 billion-year-old Sun, although it could eventually be as massive as it.

The image captured by the $10 billion space observatory provides astronomers with information to study stars in their earliest moments of life and provides valuable data from observations made previously with other observation instruments less advanced than those of the Webb. Let’s look in more detail at the composition published by NASA.

Supersonic jets from a baby star

On the cover of this article we observe the environment of our protagonist, a Class 0 protostar, located about 1,000 light years from Earth, in the constellation of Perseus. The US space agency speaks of an “infant” stage precisely because this celestial object is in its first stages of development, feeding and expelling material into space as it grows.

HH 211 expels jets of supersonic gas that drive shock waves in a southeast (bottom left) and northwest (top right) direction. We are looking at a very detailed image that has a resolution 5 to 10 times greater than previous observations of the same region. The new data suggests the baby star may be part of an unproven binary system.

Hydrogen, carbon monoxide and silicon monoxide molecules in the turbulent environment of HH 211 are visible from the infrared point of view, therefore, detectable by the NIRCam instrument on James Webb. Using this data, the researchers composited the image using separate exposures and applying filters to assign the colors purple, blue, cyan, green, orange and red.

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