A team of astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) and the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) discovered a recycling plant for warm and cold molecular hydrogen gas in Stephan’s Quintet, and it’s causing mysterious things to happen. At left: Field 6, which sits at the center of the main shock wave, is recycling warm and cold hydrogen gas as a giant cloud of cold molecules is stretched out into a warm tail of molecular hydrogen over and over again. At center: Field 5 unveiled two cold gas clouds connected by a stream of warm molecular hydrogen gas characterized by a high-speed collision that is feeding the warm envelope of gas around the region. At right: Field 4 revealed a steadier, less turbulent environment where hydrogen gas collapsed, forming what scientists believe to be a small dwarf galaxy in formation.
Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)/JWST/ P. Appleton (Caltech), B.Saxton (NRAO/AUI/NSF)