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Looking Beyond the Veil

At the center of the image is a nebula on the black background of space. The nebula is comprised of clumpy, red, filamentary clouds. At the center-right of the red clouds is a large cavernous bubble, and at the center of the bubble there is an opaque blueish glow with speckles of stars. At the edges of the bubble, the dust is white. There are several other smaller cavernous bubbles at the top of the nebula, including two tiny cavities at the top center of the image. There are thousands of stars that fill the surrounding area outside the nebula, most of them are yellow or white. At 11 o’clock and 6 o’clock there are extremely bright stars with 8 diffraction spikes. There are also some smaller, red stars and a few disk-shaped galaxies scattered across the image.
This image from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope’s NIRCam (Near-Infrared Camera) of star-forming region NGC 604 shows how stellar winds from bright, hot young stars carve out cavities in surrounding gas and dust.

In this image released on March 9, 2024, the NIRCam (Near-Infrared Camera) on NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope gives us a more detailed view of a well-studied but still mysterious region, NGC 604. The most noticeable features are tendrils and clumps of emission that appear bright red, extending out from areas that look like clearings, or large bubbles in the nebula. Stellar winds from the brightest and hottest young stars have carved out these cavities, while ultraviolet radiation ionizes the surrounding gas. This ionized hydrogen appears as a white and blue ghostly glow.

Learn more about this image and another of the same region from Webb’s MIRI (Mid-Infrared Instrument).

Image Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI