JWST reveals young star that may be about to give birth to a planet


Spectral information from the James Webb Space Telescope has unveiled chemicals inside a protostar that hint it is in the process of forming planets


30 August 2022

The James Webb telescope

The James Webb telescope is making discovery after discovery

Vadim Sadovski/Shutterstock

A young, still-forming star that produces complex carbon molecules like ethanol and acetaldehyde has been glimpsed by the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). The compounds it is making could be the building blocks of future planets.

Such young stars, known as protostars, consist of large volumes of gas, or gas and ice, that slowly coalesce into stars under the pull of gravity. Complex carbon molecules, which can act as building blocks for life, have been observed in some protostar gas clouds …

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