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Seeing Sagittarius C in a New Light


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A crowded region of space, full of stars and colorful clouds, more than twice as wide as it is tall. A funnel-shaped region of space appears darker than its surroundings with fewer stars. It is wider at the top edge of the image, narrowing towards the bottom. Toward the narrow end of this dark region a small clump of red and white appears to shoot out streamers upward and left. A large, bright cyan-colored area surrounds the lower portion of the funnel-shaped dark area, forming a rough U shape. The cyan-colored area has needle-like, linear structures and becomes more diffuse in the center of the image. The right side of the image is dominated by clouds of orange and red, with a purple haze.
The NIRCam (Near-Infrared Camera) instrument on NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope’s reveals a portion of the Milky Way’s dense core in a new light. An estimated 500,000 stars shine in this image of the Sagittarius C (Sgr C) region, along with some as-yet unidentified features. A large region of ionized hydrogen, shown in cyan, contains intriguing needle-like structures that lack any uniform orientation.
NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, and S. Crowe (University of Virginia)

A star-forming region, named Sagittarius C (Sgr C), is seen in exceptional detail in this image from Nov. 20, 2023, thanks to the Near-Infrared Camera instrument on NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. An estimated 500,000 stars shine in this image of the Sgr C region, along with some never-before-seen features astronomers have yet to explain.

Image Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, and S. Crowe (University of Virginia)

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