James Webb Space Telescope is the most expected piece of astronomical future history. After its launch in 2021, it will do things that astronomers can’t wait. One of those things is the understanding of planets formation. Everything they know about this process is based on presumptions.
Stars form in dense dust clouds that make observations impossible. What that dust is made of and how it transforms during the process is of most interest to scientists. The wombs where the planets form can have up to 100,000 times the mass of the Sun.
And James Webb Space Telescope will make it possible for astronomers to penetrate the virgin mysteries of those wombs. It will do so due to its unprecedented sensitivity and angular precision that can penetrate the dust curtain and reveal the details of planets formation.
One of the members of the team that built Webb’s Near Infrared Camera instrument, Erick Young, is currently the principal investigator of the program that will make this astronomical dream become reality.
The Upcoming James Webb Space Telescope Will Zoom Into The Universe
The Brick, the Snake, and IRDC 18223 are the three most important infrared-dark clouds considered to be some sort of “bones of the Milky Way.” The “infrared-dark” name comes from the impenetrable density of the clouds that impaired any infrared-peeking until now.
The Brick dwells near the center of the galaxy, 26,000 light-years from Earth. Considered to be one of the bulkiest dust clouds in the Milky way, it shows no signs of star-forming. So, this could be the virgin womb that could reveal a planet’s first heartbeat.
IRDC 18223 resides at about 11,000 light-years away. Half of it is cold and quiet just like the Brick, while the other half shows changes in temperatures consistent with pregnancy. So, IRDC 18223 is considered to be the second stage of the star-forming process.
The Snake is located about 12,000 light-years away from us and it gives warm signs that baby-planets are already forming inside it. So, good luck, midwife James Webb Space Telescope! May you be deployed safely out there where nothing can come to your rescue!