the space telescope James Webb NASA has captured a stunning view of a hot, massive star that is on its way to going supernova. The star, Wolf-Rayet 124 (WR 124), It is located about 15,000 light years away in the constellation Sagittarius.
In the cover image, all that dust and the red and magenta colors are not a sign of something that is being born, but rather the opposite, they are the fireworks of a star in deep space Captured by the James Webb Space Telescope.
Qualify that Wolf-Rayet stars like WR 124 are a special breed. They are some of the brightest, most massive, and hottest stars in the modern universe. They also have intense stellar winds that can register speeds of millions of kilometers per hour.
All this means that they completely disintegrate in a very short time and are therefore really difficult to identify. Fortunately, JWST views the universe with infrared vision, which is perfect for observing the gas and dust surrounding Wolf-Rayet stars.
James Webb Captures a Star Going Supernova
To contextualize and understand what a supernovacomment what is happening when a star has reached the end of its life and explodes in a brilliant burst of light.
Supernovae can briefly outshine entire galaxies and radiate more energy than the Sun during their lifetime. They are also the main source of heavy elements in the universe. According to POTsupernovae are “the biggest explosion that takes place in space” and this has been demonstrated by WR 124.
The star WR 124 has 30 times the mass of the Sun and has spewed material equivalent to 10 suns, until now. As the ejected gas moves away from the star and cools, cosmic dust forms and glows in the infrared light detectable by James Webb.
“Webb’s Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam) balances the brightness of WR 124’s stellar core and gnarled details in the fainter surrounding gas”, according to a NASA press release. Meanwhile, “The telescope’s Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) reveals the lumpy structure of the nebula of gas and dust from ejected material that now surrounds the star”.
The scientists released this new photograph during the South by Southwest Conference and Festivals on Tuesday in Austin, Texas. The event included a panel of experts from NASA and the European Space Agency to discuss the latest scientific discoveries from the James Webb telescope.