NASA continues to share photos captured by the James Webb Space Telescope that fascinate the whole world. The space telescope, which has long sought answers to questions about our universe, has now captured stunning images of the star WR 124, which is about to explode at a distance of about 15,000 light-years from Earth.
NASA captured a rare star about to explode
Last June, NASA observed that WR 124 went through a Wolf-Rayet phase. We can define Wolf-Rayet stars as stars that are in the advanced stage of their evolution and lose a lot of mass due to the stellar wind. According to the space agency, only some massive stars experience this transition, and the process ultimately results in a cosmic explosion.
The image you see above shows WR 124, a star in the constellation Sagittarius, about 15,000 light-years from Earth. NASA estimates that the star is 30 times the size of the Sun and has ejected about 10 Sun’s worth of material so far. After this point, the ejected gas will cool down and cause the formation of cosmic dust. Today, cosmic dust is considered one of the fundamental building blocks of the universe. Therefore, astronomers want to learn more about the formation and distribution of cosmic dust. However, there is currently no theory to explain how much cosmic dust is in the universe. On the other hand, the James Webb Space Telescope could be an important tool to solve this mystery.
As a matter of fact, NASA said in a statement, “Before Webb, astronomers did not have enough detailed information to investigate the questions of dust generation in environments such as WR 124, and they did not know whether dust grains survived the supernova and became a significant contributor to the overall dust budget. Now, with real data, these questions can be explored.”