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James Webb Space Telescope Unveils Sagittarius C's Unique Structures: A Student-Led Breakthrough

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Waqas Arain
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James Webb Space Telescope Unveils Sagittarius C's Unique Structures: A Student-Led Breakthrough

An unprecedented image from NASA's James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) unveils a fraction of the Milky Way's eight cores in detail, focusing on the star-forming region Sagittarius C (Sgr C), approximately 300 light-years from the central supermassive black hole Sagittarius A*. The image reveals unique structures such as bear-like formations in ionized water, capturing astronomers' attention.

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A Student-Led Initiative

This is the first James Webb project led by a student, Samuel Crowe, from the University of Virginia. He initiated the project while participating in the Chalmers Astrophysics & Space Science Summer (CASSUM) program in Gothenburg. Crowe's work has brought new infrared data and insights about star formation in the galaxy's most extreme environment.

CASSUM Program: Promoting Diversity in Astrophysics

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The CASSUM program, which started in 2020 and is supported by several scholarships and funds, strives to advance gender equality, diversity, and inclusion in astrophysics research. It offers hands-on experience to students interested in research careers. Using the JWST, astronomers have observed the luminous cloud of material that surrounds a newborn star, cocooning it in a crib of gas and dust.

Herbig-Haro Objects: A Glimpse into Star Formation

Infrared instruments like NIRCam are perfect for studying young stars and probing Herbig-Haro objects. These cosmic bodies are often surrounded by remnants of the gas and dust that initially formed them, absorbing and blocking other wavelengths of light emitted from these stars. The particular Herbig-Haro object designated HH 797 is located around 1,000 light-years away, close to the young open star cluster IC 348, situated at the eastern edge of the Perseus dark cloud complex.

Revolutionizing Astronomical Matches

Matching astronomical objects is vital for space scientists as different surveys supply different information, whether that be wavelength data, exposure times, or even the date the survey was done. Scientists often face challenges when trying to study an object present in more than one of these surveys. However, Jacob Feitelberg, Amitabh Basu, and Tamás Budavári from Johns Hopkins University developed a new method of making such matches using data science techniques, allowing for the pairing of objects from multiple surveys to obtain the likelihood that some recorded objects are indeed the same object.

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