Attendees at the South by Southwest conference got a rare treat on Tuesday. NASA revealed an awe-inspiring photograph at the annual meeting of film, music, and media enthusiasts in Austin, Texas. The Webb Space Telescope captured the rare and fleeting phase of a star on the cusp of death.
The star seen in the colorful photograph is in the constellation Sagittarius. It is officially known as WR 124. WR stands for Wolf-Rayet and indicates the star is of a certain type.
American astronomer Paul W. Merrill first discovered WR 124 in 1938. But God has known every star all along. (Genesis 1:16)
After scientists launched Webb in late 2021, the newly revealed interstellar observation was among the first captured by the powerful telescope. Its infrared eyes spotted the gas and dust flung into space by the huge, hot star 15,000 light-years away. (A single light-year is about 5.8 trillion miles.)
Shimmering in purple like a cherry blossom, the cast-off material in the image once made up the aging star’s outer layer.
Years ago, the Hubble Space Telescope, Webb’s predecessor, snapped shots of the same star 11 years apart. At that time, it appeared more like a fireball. Those images lacked the delicate details of the recent image.
Researchers say such a transformation occurs only with some stars. They believe the change seen in the Webb capture is normally the last step before a star explodes. When that happens, the star is “going supernova,” according to scientists.
WR 124 is 30 times as massive as Earth’s Sun. NASA scientists say the star has already shed enough material to account for 10 Suns.
Macarena Garcia Marin is a European Space Agency scientist who is part of the Webb project. She calls the Webb image “exciting,” saying, “We’ve never seen it like that before.”
Lift up your eyes on high and see: Who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name; by the greatness of His might and because He is strong in power, not one is missing. — Isaiah 40:26
(The James Webb Space Telescope captured this image of the star WR 124, center, in June 2022. NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, Webb ERO Production Team via AP)
God is so great!!
Only God can create such a thing as a star... only God can create that masterpiece.
The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
What an amazing picture!!!
This is wyn
In all of this world’s chaos, God always takes time to make something beautiful.
so well said! ❤️
Even a star about to blow up shows God's sense for beauty.
It looks really nice I wonder how they translated the Infared picture to our spectrum.
wow that is cool