Prelude to supernova – Wolf-Rayet 124 – NIRCam
2023-03-14 – The James Webb Space Telescope has captured a rare sight: a prelude to supernova. This image features the star Wolf-Rayet 124 (WR 124) casting off its outer layers, resulting in halos of gas and dust.
Webb opens up new possibilities for studying details in cosmic dust, which is best observed in infrared wavelengths of light. Webb’s Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) balances the brightness of WR 124’s stellar core and the knotty details in the fainter surrounding gas. The telescope’s Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) reveals the clumpy structure of the gas and dust nebula of the ejected material now surrounding the star.
Dust is integral to the workings of the universe: it shelters forming stars, gathers together to help form planets, and serves as a platform for molecules to form and clump together – including the building blocks of life on Earth.
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