Read the full version
05.12.2023 04:27, Vladimir Fetisov
The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has discovered large amounts of frozen carbon monoxide near the central region of the Milky Way galaxy. We are talking about a huge molecular cloud G0.253+0.016, which astronomers jokingly call the “Brick” because of its shape and high density of matter.
Typically, star formation is actively occurring in such areas. However, in the case of G0.253+0.016 this does not happen, and scientists cannot say exactly what is causing this. One possible explanation is that this cloud is still too young and stars simply have not had time to form in it. Proponents of another version believe that the gas inside it has a high level of turbulence or is supported by magnetic fields that prevent the formation of stars.
Frozen carbon monoxide discovered by a space observatory makes this region of the galaxy even more mysterious. Carbon monoxide in the form of ice has been found in the center of the Milky Way before because it condenses on dust particles. However, it is usually quite difficult to find in the interstellar medium, so scientists did not know how much ice might be in the nebulae at the center of the galaxy.
Scientists from the University of Florida, led by Adam Ginsburg, were very surprised when the space observatory’s near-infrared camera (NIRCam) discovered a lot of ice gas there. “Our observations convincingly demonstrate that ice is very widespread there, so much so that all future observations must take this into account.”,” said Adam Ginsburg.
For the star formation process to begin, very cold conditions are required, when the temperature of the molecular gas drops to ten degrees above absolute zero, the lowest possible temperature in the Universe. Despite the abundance of ice in the region, JWST data showed that the gas in it is surprisingly warm compared to other molecular clouds.
In the future, scientists intend to use a space observatory to identify what other frozen substances are present in G0.253+0.016 and other similar objects located nearby. “We do not have data, for example, regarding the amount of carbon monoxide, water and carbon dioxide, as well as complex molecules. Using spectroscopy, we can measure them and get some idea of how the chemical composition of these clouds changes over time.”said Ginsburg.