Prelude to a Supernova
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· Webb image of WR 124: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, Webb ERO Production Team
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An array of photos of space. Text. News from the Universe, March 23, 2023. Prelude to a supernova.
Huge dust clouds of pink, purple, and brown surround a bright star. Countless smaller stars dot the black background.
Text, NASA's James Webb Space Telescope has captured the rare sight of a Wolf-Rayet star.
Wolf-Rayet stars are among the most luminous, most massive, and most briefly detectable stars known.
These types of stars are surrounded by a characteristic nebula of their own cast-off material, a brief, beautiful phase before they explode in a supernova.
Cosmic dust created in Wolf-Rayet nebulas may go on to form the foundation of stars, planets, and molecules.
Webb balances the star's brightness with the fainter nebula and allows astronomers to study the dust-forming region in unprecedented detail.
This news was brought to you in part by the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland.