Bonkers! James Webb Space Telescope captures mysterious rings around a star

James Webb Space Telescope has captured a bizarre ring around a star leaving everyone puzzled.

Nasa’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has been constantly astonishing us by sharing glimpses of stars, planets, and galaxies while exploring the solar system and space. This time JWST has captured an image of a strangely shaped concentric ring-like structure around a distant star. Dubbed as WR140, the star is in the constellation Cygnus and resides around 5,600 light-years away from Earth. It is surrounded by curved yet oddly boxy rings that appear red in the image shared on Twitter by citizen scientist Judy Schmidt. She tweeted, “Nope, I don’t know what this is. Some kind of spiral nebula around WR140. I’m sure we’ll find out more later.”

However, Mark McCaughrean, a senior advisor for science and exploration at the European Space Agency and a member of the James Webb Space Telescope Science Working Group, called the structure bonkers. He said that the six-pointed blue structure could be an artefact created due to optical diffraction from the bright star WR140 in the JWST MIRI image.

‘But red curvy-yet-boxy stuff is real, a series of shells around WR140. Actually in space. Around a star,’ he said.

McCaughrean explained that WR140 is what’s called a Wolf-Rayet star, that periodically ejects dust that can be shaped into a strange shell by a companion star. Meanwhile, several astronomers have stated that the rings around the star are real. Ryan Lau, an astronomer at the NOIRLab confirmed the same. He even submitted a paper on the findings and said that the detailed study of this phenomenon will be released soon.

Do You Know?

The James Webb telescope has been capturing detailed images of space that scientists have never seen before. It is the world’s largest telescope and has cost a whopping $10 billion to make. It is capable of capturing huge details, even in deep space. According to NASA, the James Webb telescope has been designed in a way that can track objects moving as fast as Mars i.e, maximum speed of 30 milliarcseconds per second. “It’s really exciting to think of the capability and opportunity that we have for observing these kinds of objects in our solar system,” added Milam.

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