We have nothing but questions.
Just Asking Questions
NASA's James Webb Space Telescope has taken a stunning picture of a young star system some 1,470 light-years away called Herbig-Haro 46/47, comprised of two nascent stars caught in a tight embrace as they spin around each other.
But if you zoom in close enough towards the bottom center of the stunning infrared image, you can spot a small celestial object shaped almost perfectly like a question mark, as if it was baffled by its own existence.
And fittingly, we're still not entirely sure what the glowing orange symbol actually is.
Fortunately, Space.com reached out to some experts to get a better idea.
"It is probably a distant galaxy, or potentially interacting galaxies (their interactions may have caused the distorted question mark-shape)," representatives of the Space Telescope Science Institute, which manages the telescope's science operations, told the outlet.
Since it appears red in the observation, it's quite far away, according to the institute.
"This may be the first time we've seen this particular object," the representatives added. "Additional follow-up would be required to figure out what it is with any certainty. Webb is showing us many new, distant galaxies — so there's a lot of new science to be done!"
Matt Caplan, an assistant professor of physics at Illinois State University, went a step further, telling Space.com that it "could easily be merging galaxies in the background, with the upper part of the question mark being part of a larger galaxy getting tidally disrupted."
"Given the color of some of the other background galaxies, this doesn't seem like the worst explanation," he added. "Despite how chaotic mergers are, double lobed objects with curvy tails extending away from them are very typical."
In short, the question mark will remain, well, a giant question mark in the sky — at least for now.
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