Nov. 16 (UPI) -- NASA's James Webb Space Telescope has captured a protostar that was previously hidden from other space telescopes and gives astronomers new insight into a star's formation.
The protostar is hidden in a dark cloud known as L1527. The photo, captured using Webb's near-Infrared camera, shows the protostar gathering material on its way to becoming a star.
"Protostars like these, which are still cocooned in a dark cloud of dust and gas, have a long way to go before they become full-fledged stars," NASA said. "L1527 doesn't generate its own energy through nuclear fusion of hydrogen yet, an essential characteristic of stars. Its shape, while mostly spherical, is also unstable, taking the form of a small, hot, and puffy clump of gas somewhere between 20 and 40% the mass of our Sun."
NASA says that the L1527 is only about 100,000 years old, which is very young for a star. Over time it is projected to gather mass and its core will continue to compress and get closer to nuclear fusion.
"Ultimately, this view of L1527 provides a window into what our Sun and solar system looked like in their infancy," NASA said.