If you’ve ever been curious about what our Sun was like in its early years of formation, NASA may finally have the answer thanks to the most impressive tool ever created by humans.
Using the James Webb Space Telescope, the agency has been able to discover a distant star in its infant stage and believes it will grow to be just like our own Sun.
Launched in 2021 and operational since July 2022, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has already taken countless stunning photos, including the one we bring you today.
A baby star that could be our Sun
However, one of the latest discoveries by the JWST is closer to home than you might expect. Thanks to the telescope, NASA has found an emerging star, commonly known as a protostar, in the constellation of Perseus, located about 1,000 light-years from Earth.
The star is currently in its class 0 protostar phase, which means it is less than 100,000 years old.
The star doesn’t have the typical appearance you would expect from an emerging star. Instead of being a glowing, fiery orb of gases like we see in our Sun, protostars often appear as dark voids accompanied by what’s known as a Herbig-Haro (HH) object.
HH objects are accumulations of gases emanating from an emerging star, colliding with other gases and dust in the vacuum of space to produce vibrant colors.
This HH object is classified as HH 211 and can be seen with its vibrant blue and pink hues as gases are being released by the young star.
It’s likely that these gases will continue to stream from the star until just before it reaches its next protostellar phase, Class I, in the distant future. At that point, the star will begin to shine and fuse together as our Sun has done for billions of years.
NASA describes the star and its HH object as a “childhood analogue of our Sun when it was just a few tens of thousands of years old.”
Currently, it has a mass of only 8% of that of our Sun, but as time goes on, it will grow to become a full-sized star like the Sun.