James Webb telescope photographed the darkest icy cloud

(ORDO NEWS) — The James Webb telescope captured an image of an icy interstellar cloud.

“JWST has allowed us to study ices that are found on dust grains in the darkest regions of interstellar molecular clouds.

The clouds are so dense that these ices are largely protected from the harsh radiation of nearby stars, so they are completely untouched [from the moment they formed],” explained Danna Kasim, one of the authors of the work.

The telescope’s spectrometer made it possible to determine the composition of the ice and associated dust. Scientists note that this is most likely the darkest object studied by the telescope.

Most of the previously studied interstellar ices contain very small fractions of elements such as oxygen and sulfur.

The observed proportion of sulfur is only 1% of what scientists predict should be there.

“99% of this sulfur is locked up somewhere else, and we need to find out exactly where in order to understand how this element ends up on habitable planets,” the scientists say.

The authors suggest that sulfur may be bound in iron sulfide and similar materials, which may react with ice and transfer some of the sulfur to it.


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