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Researchers reveal rare stellar birth phenomenon using the James Webb Space Telescope

The young star Herbig-Haro 211-mm, with supersonic jets of hot molecular material. Image: DIAS/JWST

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has provided a ground-breaking insight into the birth of stars, revealing a phenomenon that challenges previous astronomical assumptions. Researchers using the JWST have observed the young star "Herbig-Haro 211-mm," one of the youngest known stars, emitting highly supersonic matter beams that span vast distances in space, resembling radiant lightsabres. These beams are composed of nearly pure molecular matter, contrary to the conventional understanding that they should contain atoms and ions.

The discovery, published in the journal Nature, adds complexity to our understanding of star formation processes. This celestial portrait captured by the JWST showcases the remarkable capabilities of the world's most powerful telescope, which was launched in December 2021 as a collaborative effort between NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).

Professor Göran Östlin from Stockholm University, who contributed to the study, noted that this discovery challenges existing notions of star formation and adds a new layer of complexity to the understanding of the universe's fundamental processes. The JWST's advanced observational abilities promise to revolutionize our understanding of galaxies, stars, and planets throughout its decade-long mission.