James Webb telescope discovers frozen cosmic cloud

(ORDO NEWS) — The James Webb Space Telescope peered into a thin molecular cloud 630 light-years from Earth and found ices made up of different elements.

Molecular clouds are interstellar accumulations of gas and dust in which hydrogen and carbon monoxide molecules can form.

Dense clusters within these clouds can collapse to form young stars (protostars).

The James Webb Telescope focused on the dark Chameleon I molecular cloud, which is blue in the resulting image.

The young protostar Ced 110 IRS 4 glows orange (pictured left).

The orange dots are the light from the stars in the background coming through the cloud.

Starlight has helped astronomers identify the variety of frozen molecules in the Chameleon I dark molecular cloud that forms dozens of young stars.

Ices can supply planets with carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and sulfur, which can lead to a habitable planet like Earth, where they are used in planetary atmospheres, as well as amino acids, sugars, and alcohols.


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