The James Webb telescope has taken unique images of the Ring Nebula, which is located at a distance of about 2200 light-years from Earth and surrounds a dying star. This is stated in the message NASA.
This nebula is visible through binoculars on a clear summer evening from the northern hemisphere and most of the southern hemisphere. Scientists call the object an ideal target for unraveling some of the mysteries of planetary nebulae.
“We realized that Webb observations would provide us with invaluable insights, since the Ring Nebula fits nicely in the field of view of Webb’s NIRCam (Near-Infrared Camera) and MIRI (Mid-Infrared Instrument) instruments, allowing us to study it in unprecedented spatial detail,” said a representative of the international group of experts on the study of planetary nebulae and related objects ESSENcE.
The group added that the James Webb telescope took the image of the nebula a few weeks after the start of scientific operations on July 12, 2022.
“When we first saw the images, we were stunned by the amount of detail in them. The bright ring that gives the nebula its name is composed of about 20,000 individual clumps of dense molecular hydrogen gas, each of them about as massive as the Earth,” scientists described.
They noted that the images allowed them to see unexpected details. For example, the presence of up to ten evenly spaced concentric objects in a faint halo outside the bright ring was a surprise. These arcs could form every 280 years as the star sheds its mass. At the same time, scientists do not know of any other example of the formation of such structures with this frequency in planetary nebulae formed by a single star.
Earlier it was reported that the James Webb Telescope has taken an infrared image of two young stars that are still forming.