James Webb Space Telescope's iconic image reveals a stellar surprise

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James Webb Space Telescope's iconic image reveals a stellar surprise

Post by fred8615 »

When astronomers first saw spectacular snapshots of the Southern Ring Nebula acquired by the James Webb Space Telescope, they understood they would have to rethink what they thought they knew about the unremarkable object.

Located some 2,000 light-years away from Earth in the constellation Vela, which is visible in the southern sky, the Southern Ring Nebula was among the James Webb Space Telescope's early science targets, and a portrait was among the images famously revealed to the world in July. The nebula, also known as NGC 3132, had been previously imaged by Webb's predecessor, the Hubble Space Telescope. But Hubble's photographs, while stunning, failed to convey the whole truth about this dust cloud, which sprang up from an implosion of a dying star about the size of the sun merely 2,500 years ago.

"The Southern Ring Nebula was never considered too remarkable," Orsola De Marco, an astrophysicist at Macquarie University in Australia and a lead author of a new paper exploring Webb's images, told Space.com. "The nebula was known for having an extended envelope and for housing two visible stars orbiting each other."

https://www.space.com/james-webb-space- ... a-surprise
Frederick J. Barnett
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