July 17, 2024

NASA’s Space Telescope may have solved the mystery

NASA’s Space Telescope may have solved the mystery

Image from the James Webb Telescope.
ESA/Webb, NASA, CSA, M Barlow (UCL), N Cox (ACRI-ST), R Wesson (Cardiff University)

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has detected details missed by Hubble in the Ring Nebula in the constellation Lyra.

A cunning companion star could explain the mystery behind the dying star’s unusual rings.

This is another example of the “astonishing complexity” of a planetary nebula, according to astronomer Roger Wesson.

This is a machine translation of an article by our American Insider colleagues. Automatically translated and verified by a real editor. We welcome comments at the end of the article.

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has done it again, discovering something its predecessor Hubble couldn’t.

The Ring Nebula is a tall, doughnut-shaped planetary nebula located in the constellation of Lyra, a dying star 2,200 light-years away. It gradually sheds its outer layers. The bright ring that surrounds it consists of 20,000 dots of hydrogen gas, each with a mass equal to that of our entire planet. At its center is a white dwarf – a star similar to our Sun. However, it is much older and has used up all of its fuel.

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“When we first saw the images, we were blown away by the level of detail,” Roger Wesson said of one of the photos. clarification. He is a research fellow at Cardiff University working on images of the Ring Nebula. Even to the untrained eye, a quick look at the two telescopes’ shots of the Ring Nebula reveals just how well Webb’s infrared vision captures it.

New recordings reveal more details

Here is the old one Hubble image From 2013:

This is a new web image. It comes from the telescope’s camera, which captures light in the near infrared range. Check out the newly visible texture of the nebula’s outer layers and spines of light emanating into space.

The details are captivatingly beautiful. But for the astronomer, Webb’s new images reveal important clues that could help solve the mystery.

Previously, planetary nebulae were thought to be simple, rounded objects with a single dying star at their center. “They get their name because they look fuzzy and planet-like in small telescopes,” says Wesson. “Modern observations, however, show that most nebulae Planetary is of amazing complexity. This begs the question: How can a spherical star produce such complex and delicate non-spherical structures?

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The answer may be another star hidden in the folds of the nebula, Webb explains. It is possible that this star’s gravity, although not very massive, would affect the dying star at the center of the nebula, adding more complexity to the physics of its outer layers being flung out into space.

These findings are a work in progress and have not yet been peer-reviewed.

An infrared web image shows fuzzy arcs outside the main ring

At the outer edges of the main ring, Webb has about ten concentric arcs. They are evenly spaced and probably form every 280 years when the star in the center sheds its outer layers. But scientists say the dying star couldn’t have created it on its own.

The presence of the companion star helped form the precipitated atmosphere in the form of arcs. If confirmed, the companion star would be as far away from the dying star as Earth is from Pluto. “No previous telescope has had the sensitivity and spatial resolution to detect this subtle effect,” Wesson says.

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