The world’s most expensive space telescope James Webb has just continued to show its irreplaceable importance in the field of astronomical research, bringing to mankind a precious image of the Ring Nebula with a high resolution. amazing detail.
First discovered in the 18th Century and located about 2,500 light-years from Earth, north of the constellation Lydia, the “Ring Nebula” is one of the most famous nebulae ever known. This is also one of the outstanding examples of distant celestial bodies called planetary nebulae, often referred to by astronomers as planetaries or PNe.
The nebula’s beautiful, colorful ring-like ring is made up of gas and matter escaping from a dying star at its center. According to astronomers, this star will eventually become a white dwarf – a very small, dense and hot core that marks the final stage of a star’s evolution and the stage in which our sun will eventually enter at the end of the life cycle.
The beautiful and highly detailed image of the Ring Nebula below was taken by James Webb with two different camera systems. The first image was taken with a near-infrared camera (NIRCam), which shows intricate details about the nebula’s filament structure.
The second image (below) uses the central infrared (MIRI) instrument, revealing specific details of the concentric feature in the outer part of the nebula ring.
The Ring Nebula, which the European Space Agency (ESA) describes as shaped like a “distorted donut”, contains about 20,000 dense spheres that are rich in molecular hydrogen. On the contrary, the interior is an area with very hot air. “The nebula’s main shell contains a thin ring of enhanced emission from carbon-based molecules called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons,” ESA said. “About 10 concentric arcs lie just outside the outer edge of the main ring. The arcs are thought to originate from the interaction of the central star with a low-mass companion star orbiting at a distance comparable to that between Earth and the dwarf planet Pluto. In this way, nebulae like the Ring Nebula can contain astro-archaeological mysteries, as astronomers try to study the nebula to learn about the star that created it.”
The ESA notes that although the nebula’s middle appears to be empty, it is in fact filled with lower-density matter that stretches out and out, “producing a shape similar to that of a rugby ball. carved into the central cleft of the nebula.