James Webb discovered ice at a distance of 500 light-years from Earth: it will allow the birth of new planets

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The James Webb Space Telescope, which NASA ended up spending more than $10 billion on, can actually be used not only to study the very first star systems in the universe, but thanks to infrared waves, it can give scientists many answers to previously unexplored questions. For example, thanks to this apparatus, specialists were able to “look” into the so-called “cold cloud” of cosmic dust and gas called Chamaeleon I (“Chameleon I”), having received detailed information about the chemical elements that will eventually become part of new exoplanets, speaking as a result, the building blocks of the future cosmic body.

It is worth noting that the advanced equipment of the James Webb telescope allows observing the Chamaeleon I cloud, which is located at a simply insane distance from Earth – scientists believe that this cloud is located at a distance of 500 light years from our planet. In terms of distance, the closest star to the Sun, called Proxima Centauri, is only 4.2 light-years away, but it is simply impossible to physically reach it with the current level of technology. At the same time, due to the latest sensors and scanners of the space telescope, scientists can determine the composition of a cloud located at a distance of 500 light years to the nearest atom, and even study its coldest and darkest region, inside which planets form.

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To determine the cloud’s chemical composition, a team of specialists uses directional light that passes through a specific area in deep space, identifying the presence of ice and other chemical compounds there. Atoms and molecules in the cosmic cloud absorb specific wavelengths of light filtered through the ice, allowing scientists to accurately determine the presence of water, carbon dioxide and ammonia. Moreover, experts were able to identify more complex chemical compounds like methanol and other organic molecules.

“Our results provide insight into the initial, dark chemical stage of ice formation on interstellar dust grains that will grow into centimeter-sized pebbles from which planets form in disks. And this line of research will tell us exactly what mixture of ice and other elements may end up on the surface of exoplanets or will be included in the atmosphere of huge gas or ice planets, ”said Melissa McClure, astronomer at the Leiden Observatory in the Netherlands.

All of the above elements are crucial in the development of life on the surface of an exoplanet, so understanding what ratio of chemical elements will eventually be included in the formed planet will determine how habitable a given area of ​​\u200b\u200bspace will be in the future.

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Source: Trash Box

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