NASA's JWST Captures New Views of NGC 604

Posted on March 12, 2024

NGC 604 from NIRCam on Webb

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has captured two new views of NGC 604, a star-forming region of the Triangulum galaxy. The region is home to over 200 massive stars - B-types and O-types. Some of the biggest of the stars (O-types) have masses over 100 times the mass of our Sun.

Two images were obtained by Webb's NIRCam (Near-Infrared Camera) and MIRI (Mid-Infrared Instrument). They reveal the complex patterns of star births in a galaxy over 2.7 million light-years from Earth.

The above image was obtained by NIRCam.

The bright orange-colored streaks in the Webb near-infrared image signify the presence of carbon-based molecules known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs. This material plays an important role in the interstellar medium and the formation of stars and planets, but its origin is a mystery. As you travel farther from the immediate clearings of dust, the deeper red signifies molecular hydrogen. This cooler gas is a prime environment for star formation.

NASA says NGC 604 is estimated to be about 3.5 million years old. Its eerie and spectacular glowing gases extend for about 1,300 light-years.


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