James Webb Space Telescope Images: Take A Front Row Seat For Dying Star’s Final Dance. Courtesy: NASA’s Webb


James Webb Space Telescope Images: James Webb Space Telescope is a tennis court size observatory.

New Delhi:

Two cameras aboard the James Webb Space Telescope- world’s largest and most powerful space telescope- captured the latest image of planetary nebula NGC 3132, known as the Southern Ring Nebula. It is approximately 2,500 light-years away from the Earth.

Explaining what NASA called the “dying star’s final dance”, the space agency said that in the images the dimmer star that can be seen at the centre sends out rings of gas and dust in all directions. This phenomenon takes place for thousands of years and has now been captured by NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope for the first time showing the star cloaked in dust.

The Southern Ring Nebula can be seen almost face-on in the image.

“But if we could rotate it to view it edge-on, its three-dimensional shape would more clearly look like two bowls placed together at the bottom, opening away from one another with a large hole at the center,” NASA said.

The stars and their layers of light can be seen clearly 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 right shows the second star is surrounded by dust.

“The brighter star is in an earlier stage of its stellar evolution and will probably eject its own planetary nebula in the future,” NASA noted.

The brighter star has an influence on the overall appearance of the nebula. Both the stars continue to orbit, as “they stir the pot of gas and dust, causing asymmetrical patterns”.

James Webb telescope was constructed by aerospace giant Northrop Grumman Corp and was launched to space for NASA and its European and Canadian counterparts in December 2021 from French Guiana.