molecular cloud

NASA’s Webb Telescope to Make a Splash in Search for Interstellar Water

NASA’s Webb Telescope to Make a Splash in Search for Interstellar Water

Water is crucial for life, but how do you make water? Cooking up some H2O takes more than mixing hydrogen and oxygen. It requires the special conditions found deep within frigid molecular clouds, where dust shields against destructive ultraviolet light and aids chemical reactions. NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope will peer into these cosmic reservoirs to gain new insights into the origin and evolution of water and other key building blocks for habitable planets.

Hidden Secrets of Orion’s Clouds - VISTA survey gives most detailed view of Orion A molecular cloud in the near-infrared

Hidden Secrets of Orion’s Clouds - VISTA survey gives most detailed view of Orion A molecular cloud in the near-infrared

This spectacular new image is one of the largest near-infrared high-resolution mosaics of the Orion A molecular cloud, the nearest known massive star factory, lying about 1350 light-years from Earth. It was taken using the VISTA infrared survey telescope at ESO’s Paranal Observatory in northern Chile and reveals many young stars and other objects normally buried deep inside the dusty clouds.