NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has captured a stunning image of a dying star.
The telescope’s infrared lens looks at gas and dust thrown into space by a massive star 15,000 light-years away.
Glittering purple waste material that once made up the outer layers of the star Wolf-Rayet 124.
Located in the constellation Sagittarius, it’s 30 times the mass of the sun and has shed enough material to equal 10 suns, according to NASA.
“What we see in this beautiful new image is a star,” said NASA’s Amber Straun.
“The light from that star had traveled through space for about 15,000 years, 15,000 light-years away, until it reached the detectors on the telescope.
“The material that looks like dust that you see around the central star is dust.
“So at the end of stars’ lives, they shed their outer layers, and the outer layers go to the rest of the universe.”
She added: “I think it’s one of the most beautiful concepts in all of astronomy. It’s Carl Sagan’s concept of stardust.
“In fact, the iron in your blood and the calcium in your bones were actually formed in a star that exploded billions of years ago.
“That’s what we’re seeing in this new image. The dust is spreading out into the universe and eventually forming planets. In fact, that’s how we got here.”
Telescope captures subtle details
NASA released this image from the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas.
The observation is one of the first made by Webb after its launch in late 2021.
Decades ago, the Hubble Space Telescope took a picture of the same transiting star — but it looked more like a fireball, with less fine detail.
According to scientists, this transition only happens in some stars, usually as the last step before they explode as supernovae.
Last year, the telescope captured an image Dusty ring resembling a fingerprint formed by two stars and The first photo of an extrasolar planet was taken.