NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has captured an image of a Wolf-Rayet star that is expected to go supernova soon. The star, located in the constellation Carina about 20,000 light-years away, is known as WR 124.
Wolf-Rayet stars are massive and luminous stars that are in the final stages of their lives. WR 124 is estimated to have a mass of around 25 times that of the sun and is one of the brightest stars in the Milky Way. It is also surrounded by a nebula, which is a cloud of dust and gas that was ejected by the star’s powerful stellar winds.
The James Webb Space Telescope’s observations of WR 124 are particularly exciting because they could provide valuable insights into the final stages of the star’s life cycle. By studying the star’s infrared emissions, astronomers hope to better understand the processes that lead up to a supernova explosion.
The second photo captured by JWST’s MIRI shows the thick layer of gas and dust surrounding the enormous Wolf-Rayet star
The James Webb Space Telescope, launched in December 2021, is the largest and most powerful space telescope ever built. Its advanced capabilities will enable it to study the most distant objects in the universe, and it is expected to revolutionize our understanding of the cosmos.
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Photo credits: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, Webb ERO Production Team