NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope captures an “extraordinary phenomenon” in stunning new photo

NASA has shared a stunning new image of a pair of binary stars.

The US space agency captured the image with its James Webb Space Telescope.

NASA has shared a stunning new image of a pair of binary stars.

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NASA has shared a stunning new image of a pair of binary stars.Credit: JWST/MIRI/Judy Schmidt

Shown in the photo is a pair of binary stars about 5,600 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus.

Binary stars are two stars orbiting a common center of mass.

The brighter star is considered the primary star, while the dimmer star is classified as the secondary star.

Webb captured these two stars in stunning detail, with rings of light radiating outward.

These types of rings are formed as a result of the interaction between the pair of stars.

Science Alert experts explained: “Their interactions create precise periodic bursts of dust that expand in shells over time into the space around the pair.”

“These dust shells glow in the infrared, which has allowed an instrument as sensitive as Webb’s MIRI to resolve them in minute detail.”

The two stars pictured are part of a Wolf-Rayet star system designated WR 140.

Wolf-Rayet system

Wolf-Rayet stars are rare, incredibly hot and bright, and extremely old.

Both stars in the Wolf-Rayet system have fast stellar winds and elliptical orbits that intersect.

“This means that the stars do not describe nice, clean circles around each other, but ovals, with a point where they are farthest apart (apastron) and a point where they are closest (periastron), “, said experts from Science Alert.

“When the two stars enter periastron – a distance about a third greater than the distance between Earth and the Sun – they come close enough that their strong winds collide.”

This collision, in turn, ejects material around the stars and produces radiation such as X-rays.

WR 140 is also accompanied by a hot type O star, which is a large blue-white star of spectral type O in the Yerkes classification system.

James Webb Space Telescope

The James Webb Space Telescope was launched on December 25, 2021.

It’s the world’s largest and most powerful space telescope and costs around $10 billion (£7.3 billion).

JWST is currently orbiting the Earth-Sun Lagrange Point 2 (L2), which is about 930,000 miles from Earth toward Mars.

There, the telescope scans the night sky for faint infrared light that could be visible from the first generation of stars and galaxies.

https://www.thesun.ie/tech/news-tech/9332849/nasa-james-webb-space-telescope-extraordinary-phenomenon/ NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope captures an “extraordinary phenomenon” in stunning new photo

Fry Electronics Team

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