Webb’s View of the Molecular Cloud Chameleon I

This image by the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope’s Near-InfraRed Camera (NIRCam) features the central region of the Chameleon I dark molecular cloud, which resides 630 light years away. The cold, wispy cloud material (blue, centre) is illuminated in the infrared by the glow of the young, outflowing protostar Ced 110 IRS 4 (orange, upper left). The light from numerous background stars, seen as orange dots behind the cloud, can be used to detect ices in the cloud, which absorb the starlight passing through them.  An international team of astronomers has reported the discovery of diverse ices in the darkest, coldest regions of a molecular cloud measured to date by studying this region. This result allows astronomers to examine the simple icy molecules that will be incorporated into future exoplanets, while opening a new window on the origin of more complex molecules that are the first step in the creation of the building blocks of life. [Image Description: A large, dark cloud is contained within the frame. In its top half it is textured like smoke and has wispy gaps, while at the bottom and at the sides it fades gradually out of view. On the left are several orange stars: three each with six large spikes, and one behind the cloud which colours it pale blue and orange. Many tiny stars are visible, and the background is black.]


NASA, ESA, CSA, and M. Zamani (ESA/Webb); Science: F. Sun (Steward Observatory), Z. Smith (Open University), and the Ice Age ERS Team.

About the Image

Release date:26 April 2023, 15:49
Related science announcements:sci23001
Size:9474 x 4654 px

About the Object

Name:Cha 1, IRAS 11051-7706, [PMG2001] NIR 38, SSTSL2 J110621.64-772354.1
Distance:650 light years

Image Formats

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Position (RA):11 6 36.19
Position (Dec):-77° 23' 13.72"
Field of view:4.73 x 2.32 arcminutes
Orientation:North is 23.2° left of vertical

Colours & filters

Infrared1.5 μmJames Webb Space Telescope
Infrared4.1 μmJames Webb Space Telescope

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