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Star of wonder: Supernova 11,000 light years away 'resembles Christmas bauble'

13.12.2023 02:48 AM
Star of wonder: Supernova 11,000 light years away 'resembles Christmas bauble'
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Star of wonder: Supernova 11,000 light years away 'resembles Christmas bauble'


The James Webb Space Telescope recently unveiled striking images capturing the remnants of a supernova star. Among these celestial remnants shines Cassiopeia A (Cas A), residing some 11,000 light-years away from Earth, a spectacle reminiscent of a festive ornament perfect for adorning a Christmas tree.

NASA's images have revealed the inner dust envelope of this star, resembling wisps of fiery smoke radiating vivid hues of orange and red. However, it is the Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam) that has truly painted Cas A in a holiday spirit.

This remarkable image of Cas A forms part of a collaborative effort with the White House to evoke the magic, wonder, and joy of the holiday season, as highlighted in a recent NASA press release.

The detailed view captured by NIRCam showcases Cas A in a visible purple hue, resembling a diamond, but in actuality, depicting ionized gas. Cas A, having erupted approximately 340 years ago, left behind a stunning display of filaments resembling minute glass shards, as described by Danny Milisavljevic from Purdue University, who spearheaded the research team, according to a NASA press release.

The moniker "Green Monster" was attributed to Cas A due to the presence of a vibrant green ring encircling the star's central cavity, as observed by the team.

This groundbreaking high-resolution image of Cas A, a first for NASA, was previously unattainable at these wavelengths. It unveils intricate details of the star's expanding edges colliding with the gases it expelled before its cataclysmic explosion.

The revelation of Cas A marks the discovery of the smallest known remnant from a supernova star explosion within our galaxy. NASA anticipates that by monitoring the dust content within these remnants, it could significantly contribute to astronomers' comprehension of the processes underlying planetary formation.

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