The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), the most powerful telescope ever developed by mankind, has once again peered into space and captured stunning photographs of a star’s final stages. The images show an unprecedented level of detail in what appears to be a donut-like structure called the Ring Nebula. It was born after a dying star ejected its outer layers into space.
Fascinating photos released by the US space agency NASA and its European counterpart show a glowing green and purple eye that presents the nebula in a new light. Also known as Messier 57 (M57), the nebula is located 2,600 light-years from Earth, the BBC reported. It quoted scientists as saying the discovery was important because it could provide insight into the life cycle of stars.
“We are witnessing the final chapters of a star’s life, a glimpse into the Sun’s distant future, so to speak, and the JWST observations have opened a new window into understanding these amazing cosmic events,” said Dr. Mike Barlow, co-head of the organization told the newspaper the team of astronomers who published the images.
“We can use the Ring Nebula as our laboratory to study how planetary nebulae form and evolve,” the expert said.
The Ring Nebula is the glowing remnant of a dead star, a class of space object known as a “planetary nebula,” according to space.com. The white spot at the center of the nebula is actually a white dwarf, the remnant of a star that has died.
The international research team analyzing these images has researchers from the UK, France, Canada, USA, Sweden, Spain, Brazil, Ireland and Belgium.