JWST latest image: NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope captures an image of concentrated dust ejected from a pair of stars 5,000 light-years from Earth. This pair is called the Wolf-Riot 140.
Image of a ring formed by a pair of stars taken by the James Webb Space Telescope.
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope continues to reveal stunning images of the unseen world. Among them, the most recent image is of a central cloud of dust emitted by a pair of stars 5,000 light-years from Earth. This image shared by NASA from the Webb Space Telescope captures the pair collectively known as Wolf-Riot 140.
Stellar winds are streams of gas flowing into space. As these two stars approach, their stellar winds combine and compress the gas into dust. The orbits of these stars bring them together every eight years.
According to NASA, just as it takes many ingredients to make dough into bread, turning gas into powder requires certain conditions and ingredients. Hydrogen is the most common element found in stars and cannot form dust on its own. But Wolf-Riot systems throw away a lot of mass and expel complex elements found deep in a star’s interior, including carbon.
After they are ejected, these components of the stellar wind cool and then contract where the two stellar winds meet, as if one were kneading dough with one’s hands.
“We’re looking at over a century of dust from this system,” an astronomer at NSF’s NOIRLab says in a NASA press release. The image demonstrates how sensitive the telescope is. We’ve only been able to see two dust clouds before with Earth-based telescopes. Now we see at least 17 of them. Lau is the lead author of a new study of the Wolff-Riot system published in the journal Nature Astronomy.
No other Wolf-Rayet system that produces dust has ever produced rings like the Wolf-Rayet 140. The rings form because the orbits of the Wolf-Riot stars in the system are elongated and not circular. As the stars get closer and their winds collide, the gas has just enough pressure to create dust.
The Web Telescope is uniquely suited to help scientists study dust particles. Because its devices detect infrared light. Webb’s MIRI (Mid-Infrared Instrument) detects the longest infrared wavelengths, meaning it can see very cool objects like dust rings.
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