The James Webb telescope, dubbed the “Times Square of space,” is providing unprecedented detail of the densest part of our surrounding environs. Specifically, the telescope has taken images of a star-forming region called Sagittarius C, or Sgr C for short.
300 light-years from the galaxy’s supermassive black hole, Sagittarius A, and over 25,000 light-years from Earth, Sgr C boasts over 500,000 stars and various clusters of protostars. This makes it “the most extreme environment” in the Milky Way, according to University of Virginia professor Jonathan Tan.
A massive protostar weighing more than 30 times our sun is at the center of it all. The light from this solar object and others behind it is blocked, meaning that the region looks less crowded than it actually is. The Webb telescope has allowed researchers to capture large-scale emission imagery from ionized hydrogen, shedding light on the nature of massive stars.
The research already enabled by these images is helping scientists understand the origin story of much of the universe. Previous images produced by the James Webb telescope include stunning views in the Virgo constellation and the main asteroid belt. It’s seen things and, luckily, it won’t all be gone like tears in the rain because of the internet and because Webb’s still out there.