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James Webb Captures Smashing Images of a Star That Exploded

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope captured a stunning new image of a star that exploded in the supernova remnant Cassiopeia A (Cas A). The image was released by the American space agency to showcase the “Magic, Wonder, and Joy” of the holiday season, as a part of the first-ever White House Advent Calendar which was unveiled by Dr Jill Biden, NASA said.

Cas A is one of the most well-studied supernova remnants in the cosmos, with multiple telescopes over the years piecing the multiwavelength picture of the object’s remnant. The new image shows the intricate details of the expanding material colliding with the gas shed by the star before it exploded.

Since infrared is invisible to our eyes, image processors and scientists translate these wavelengths of light which make it visible to us. This was also the case with the new image of Cas A where colours were assigned to different filters from NIRCam, each of which hinted at a different activity occurring within the object.

“With NIRCam’s resolution, we can now see how the dying star absolutely shattered when it exploded, leaving filaments akin to tiny shards of glass behind,” said Danny Milisavljevic of Purdue University, who leads the research team, in a statement.

He added, “It’s really unbelievable after all these years studying Cas A to now resolve those details, which are providing us with transformational insight into how this star exploded.”

According to NASA, one of the most noticeable differences in the newest image are clumps represented in bright orange and light pink which make up the inner shell of the supernova remnant.

However, some debris is too tiny even for the Webb since they are around or less than 10 billion miles across when compared to the entirety of Cas A which is around 10 light-years across, or 60 trillion miles.

Source: Wion