NASA shows how a massive rare star goes supernova
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NASA's James Webb telescope observed the Wolf-Rayet star — one of the brightest, most massive and rarely seen stars in June 2022, the US space agency announced on Tuesday.
The star WR 124 lies 15,000 light-years away in the constellation Sagittarius. Its mass is 30 times larger than the Sun, and it has shed its outer layers equal to 10 solar masses. Wolf-Rayet stars shed their outer layers, forming rings of dust and gas.
As the gas shed by a star moves away from It cools down in the process, forming cosmic dust that glows in infrared light, which is visible in a telescope.
Only some massive stars go through a short Wolf-Rayet phase before going supernova, which makes observations very valuable for astronomers .
Cosmic dust, which has been successfully observed in the infrared, is of interest to astronomers for a number of reasons, and primarily because it is an integral part of the functioning of the universe. It can harbor forming stars and form planets.
WR 124 observations provide new opportunities to study the details of cosmic dust, which can be observed under ideal conditions with the Webb Telescope's Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam).
Stars like WR 124 are also helping scientists understand an important period in the early history of the universe. In the early universe, there were similar dying stars with heavy elements in their cores. These elements are now common on Earth.
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