The star that exploded in the supernova remnant Cassiopeia A (Cas A) has been captured in a stunning new image by NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. This was part of the first-ever White House Advent Calendar, launched by US First Lady, Dr Jill Biden, to highlight the “magic, wonder and joy” of the holiday season, according to the British newspaper “Daily Mail”. US Space Agency.
Cas A is one of the most comprehensively researched supernova remnants throughout the entire universe. The gradually dismembered remains of the object were captured in a multi-wavelength image by a range of ground-based and space-based observatories, such as NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and the European Space Agency.
Because infrared light is undetectable to human vision, scientists and image processors convert infrared wavelengths into colors that can be seen. Colors were then assigned to several near-infrared camera filters in this latest image of Cas A, each indicating a different activity occurring within the object.
“The most visible colors in the newest Webb image are the bright orange and light pink clumps that make up the inner shell of the supernova remnant. Webb’s sharp view can detect the smallest knots of gas, consisting of sulfur, oxygen and argon,” and the neon from the star itself. “In this gas there is a mixture of dust and particles, which will eventually become components of new stars and planetary systems.”
Some of the debris filaments are 10 billion miles (about 100 astronomical units) or less across, making them too small for even Webb to discern. By contrast, the entirety of Cas A spans 10 light-years, or 60 trillion miles, according to NASA.
Danny Milisavljevic from Purdue University, who is leading the research team, added: “With the resolution of NIRCam, we can now see how the dying star completely shattered as it exploded, leaving behind filaments that look like tiny glass shards. It’s truly incredible after all these years.” “The Cas A study now resolves these details, which provides us with transformative insight into how this star exploded.”
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