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NASA Web Captures Final "Performance" of a Dying Star in Fine Detail

 NASA Web Captures Final "Performance" of a Dying Star in Fine Detail


NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has revealed details of the Southern Ring  nebula  that were previously hidden from astronomers. Planetary nebulae are the shells of gas  and mud  ejected from dying stars.

Webb’s powerful infrared view brings this nebula’s second star into full view,  together with  exceptional structures created as the stars shape the gas and dust around them.

New details like these, from the late stages of a star’s life, will help us better understand how stars evolve and transform their environments.


Goddard Space Flight Center, James Webb Space Telescope, Nebulae, Stars, Universe


These images also reveal a cache of distant galaxies  within the  background. Most of the multi-colored points  of sunshine  seen here are galaxies – not stars.

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Some stars save  the simplest  for last.


The dimmer star at  the middle  of this scene has been sending out rings of gas and dust for thousands of years in all directions, and NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has revealed for  the primary  time that this star is cloaked in dust.


Two cameras aboard Webb captured  the newest  image of this planetary nebula, cataloged as NGC 3132, and known informally  because the  Southern Ring Nebula.  it's  approximately 2,500 light-years away.


Webb will allow astronomers to  probe  many more specifics about planetary nebulae like this one – clouds of gas and dust expelled by dying stars. Understanding which molecules are present, and where they lie throughout the shells of gas  and mud  will help researchers refine their knowledge of these objects.


This observation shows the Southern Ring Nebula almost face-on, but if we could rotate it  to look at  it edge-on, its three-dimensional shape would more clearly  appear as if  two bowls placed together at the bottom, opening  faraway from  one another with a large hole at the center.


Two stars, which are locked  during a  tight orbit, shape the local landscape. Webb's infrared images feature new details  during this  complex system.  the celebs  – and their layers of light – are prominent in the image from Webb’s Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) on the left, while the image from Webb’s Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) on  the proper  shows for the first time that the second star is surrounded by dust. The brighter star is in an earlier stage of its stellar evolution  and can  probably eject its own planetary nebula in the future.


In the meantime, the brighter star influences the nebula’s appearance.  because the  pair continues to orbit one another, they “stir the pot” of gas  and mud , causing asymmetrical patterns.


Each shell represents an episode where the fainter star lost  a number of  its mass. The widest shells of gas toward the outer areas of the image were ejected earlier. Those closest to the star are  the foremost  recent. Tracing these ejections allows researchers  to seem  into the history of the system.


Observations  crazy  NIRCam also reveal extremely fine rays of light around the planetary nebula. Starlight from the central stars streams out where there are holes  within the  gas and dust – like sunlight through gaps in a cloud.


Since planetary nebulae exist for tens of thousands of years, observing the nebula is like watching a movie in exceptionally  movie . Each shell the star puffed off gives researchers  the power  to precisely measure the gas and dust that are present within it.


As the star ejects shells of material, dust and molecules form within them – changing the landscape  whilst  the star continues to expel material. This dust will eventually enrich the areas around it, expanding into what’s  referred to as  the interstellar medium. And since it’s very long-lived, the dust may  find yourself  traveling through space for billions of years and become incorporated into a new star or planet.


In thousands of years, these delicate layers of gas  and mud  will dissipate into surrounding space.


The James Webb Space Telescope  is that the  world's premier space science observatory. Webb will solve mysteries in our  system , look beyond to distant worlds around other stars, and probe the mysterious structures and origins of our universe and our place in it. Webb is  a world  program led by NASA with its partners, ESA (European Space Agency) and CSA (Canadian Space Agency).


NASA Headquarters oversees the mission for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages Webb for the agency and oversees work on the mission performed by the Space Telescope Science Institute, Northrop Grumman, and other mission partners.  additionally  to Goddard, several NASA centers contributed to the project, including the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston;  reaction propulsion  Laboratory (JPL) in Southern California; Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama; Ames  research facility  in California’s Silicon Valley; and others.


NIRCam was built by a team at the University of Arizona and Lockheed Martin’s Advanced Technology Center.


MIRI was contributed by ESA and NASA, with the instrument designed and built by a consortium of nationally funded European Institutes (The MIRI European Consortium) in partnership with JPL  and therefore the  University of Arizona.

Download full-resolution, uncompressed versions and supporting visuals for this image from the Space Telescope Science Institute: https://webbtelescope.org/contents/news-releases/2022/news-2022-033

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