Like a Scene From Batman, James Webb Telescope Spots Forming Star in the Shape of a Question Mark

Written by Kirstin Harrington
Published: August 26, 2023
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In an odd turn of events, the Universe has a question for us. The James Webb Space Telescope is continuing to solve questions regarding the early universe, but it is also raising new ones. 

The European Space Agency’s team for the James Webb Space Telescope published a picture on June 26 that provides the most in-depth view to this day of two juvenile stars. They are coming into creation roughly 1,470 light-years from Earth within the Vela Constellation. 

The Herbig-Haro 46/47 stars are encircled by a mass of debris in the picture. The materials feel the cosmos as they expand over the course of millions of years. If you look closely at the photo uploaded in June, just under these new stars is something peculiar. 

A True Head-Scratcher

The James Webb Space Telescope has provided humans with some of the most jaw-dropping pictures of space.

©ESA/Webb, NASA & CSA, L. Armus, A. S. Evans, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons – License

It appears to be a question mark amongst the cosmos. The object with the question mark form could potentially be anything, but only its hue and form can give us a general idea. The Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore believes that it is most likely a far-off galaxy or possibly colliding galaxies. 

Scientists can infer from the object’s red tint in the photograph that it is pretty far away. What’s more intriguing is that this may be the first observation of the cosmic question mark by researchers.  

It requires more investigation to determine what it is with any degree of accuracy.  There is a great deal of exciting work to be done because Webb is introducing humanity to numerous new, far-off galaxies.  

How Do Galaxies Form?

Milky Way galaxy over Big Laguna Lake in Mount Laguna, California

Experts believe there are up to 400 billion stars in just our galaxy.

©Kevin Key/Shutterstock.com

Thanks to the telescope’s incredible resolution and overall capabilities, we’re able to peek into places within the Universe for the very first time. The James Webb Space Telescope can look over 13 million light years away. We’re certain the Universe has plenty more questions for us to solve in the future. 

Massive gas clouds that break apart and revolve are the starting point for galaxies. Stars develop inside them as they expand.  The collision of whole galaxies can alter their appearance. 

We can view galaxies at previous phases of growth by looking into space. This makes it easier for humans to understand how these incredible structures form. They exhibit odd shapes and occasionally express bursts of energy. 

It is possible to view galaxies from over 10 billion years ago. The Milky Way galaxy came to be when massive clouds of gas and dust condensed under the influence of gravity roughly 14 billion years ago.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Antares_StarExplorer/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Kirstin is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering animals, news topics, fun places, and helpful tips. Kirstin has been writing on a variety of topics for over five years. She has her real estate license, along with an associates degree in another field. A resident of Minnesota, Kirstin treats her two cats (Spook and Finlay) like the children they are. She never misses an opportunity to explore a thrift store with a coffee in hand, especially if it’s a cold autumn day!

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