A new image from the James Webb Supertelescope shows unprecedented detail of a star’s explosion 340 years ago

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The record could help scientists discover the origins of the cosmic dust generated by this type of event.

340 years ago
340 years ago

The James Webb telescope recorded in detail the supernova Cassiopeia A, which is the most recent explosion of a star in our galaxy, which occurred 340 years ago. The images were released by, the US space agency, and ESA, Europe’s space agency, this Friday morning (7).

The phenomenon of star death is called a supernova, and the new infrared image will help astronomers analyze this death in detail. It has been extensively studied by several terrestrial and space observatories, which seek a better understanding of the star’s remnants.

Cas A may help answer the question of where cosmic dust comes from. According to NASA, observations made so far have found that even very young galaxies in the early Universe have enormous amounts of dust, and the best way to explain this issue is by studying supernovae, which expel large amounts of dust.

Although the telescope was unable to capture color images, the wavelengths recorded by the infrared were translated into visible light wavelengths, providing scientific information that researchers are just beginning to unravel.

340 years ago
340 years ago

At the top left of the image are curtains of orange and red material due to hot dust emission. This marks where material ejected from the exploded star is colliding with surrounding gas and cosmic dust.

Inside, the bright pink filaments represent the material of the star itself, which glows with light produced by a mixture of heavy elements such as oxygen, argon, and neon, as well as emission from dust.

Supernovae like the one that formed Cas A is crucial for life because they scatter elements like calcium, present in bones and blood.

The Cas A supernova spans about 10 light-years and is located 11,000 light-years away from Earth in the constellation Cassiopeia. See below for a zoom-in on the Universe, showing the journey to Cas A.

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