James Webb Space Telescope Clicks Stunning High-Resolution View Of Exploded Star

James Webb Space Telescope Clicks Stunning High-Resolution View Of Exploded Star

Cas A's new near-infrared NIRCam image reveals detailed features of the growing shell of material slamming into the gas shed by the star before it exploded.

Aditi ThakurUpdated: Monday, December 11, 2023, 01:18 PM IST
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JWST captured supernova remnant Cassiopeia A in a high-resolution | NASA Webb/ X

James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) recently clicked a stunning image of remnant Cassiopeia A (Cas A) in a detailed resolution, using NIRCam (Near-Infrared Camera). 

What is Cas A?

Cassiopeia A, famously called Cas A, is 11,000 light-years away in the constellation. It is one of the most researched supernova remnants in the entire universe. It is thought to have been exploded around 340 years ago. This new near-infrared NIRCam image of Cas A reveals detailed features of the growing shell of material slamming into the gas shed by the star before it exploded. 

Following the image, the small clumps of bright orange and light pink make up the inner shell of the supernova remnant. The high-resolution image helps notice the finest gas knots, oxygen, and argon, comprised of sulfur and neon from the star. 

In Webb's latest click, white colour is light emitted by synchrotron radiation, which spans the electromagnetic spectrum, including near-infrared. The light is caused due to the charged particles spiralling around magnetic field lines at intense speeds. In the inner cavity's lower half, the synchrotron radiation can also be seen.

According to NASA, "This is a light echo, where light from the long-ago explosion of the star has reached and is warming distant dust, which is glowing as it cools. Researchers are particularly fascinated by the complexity of the dust pattern and Baby Cas A's apparent proximity to Cas A itself. Baby Cas A is approximately 170 light-years away from the supernova remnant."

Image's interesting feature

The image also provides another exciting feature visible in the extreme bottom right corner, a big, striated blob, also known as Baby Cas A. It is one of the few light echoes visible in NIRCam's field of view.

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