This week, people online noticed what appeared to be a “question mark” character in the image. So what in the cosmos formed the apparent punctuation mark in space?
The original image shows two stars, Herbig-Haro 46/47, forming in the center of a disc of gas and dust, according to the ESA. Just beneath the stars, the “question mark” can be spotted.
In an interview with Space.com, a representative of Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) said the object is likely one or more galaxies “interacting.” The red color implies it is quite distant, according to STScI. Space.com reported that this may be the first astronomer sighting of the question mark in space.
The James Webb Space Telescope recently celebrated one year of operation. Webb is the largest space telescope ever launched and is frequently called a “time machine” for its ability to look billions of years in the past.
It’s considered the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, orbiting Earth for 33 years. A joint NASA-European Space Agency effort, Webb scans the universe from a more distant perch, 1 million miles away.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.