The James Webb Telescope captures a breathtaking image of an exploding star (and a Flemish man is responsible for it) | Science and the planet

The James Webb Space Telescope has struck again in beautiful fashion. The device was able to capture the remains of an exploded star. What makes it even more special this time is that the Belgian was also involved somewhere. Professor Ilse De Looze (UGent) requested the photo with other international scientists. “Our team can continue this for several years.”

To say the least, the image taken by NASA’s space telescope is amazing. In the midst of the darkness of the universe, you see thousands of orange and pink swirls, which appear to form a large circle. The whole, located about 11,000 light-years away, appears to have “ended” in various clouds of smoke.

What are we actually looking at?

“In the picture we see the remains of a huge star,” says Elsie De Luz, who participated in the project. “This star exploded in our Milky Way Galaxy about 350 years ago, and the energy released created a shock wave. Compare it to a stone you throw into a pond. The star, like a rock, simply pushed all the surrounding material away. Technically, we also call such The explosion is called a supernova.

Although that’s certainly not the only thing we can see in the image of the remnant, which is also called Cassiopeia A. “In the image you also see some orange and pink colors. These are the small fragments of the original massive star that remained after the supernova. The smoke clouds indicate The location where the supernova’s shock wave is currently colliding with surrounding material.

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Details of the exploding star © NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, D. Milisavljevic / Purdue University, T. Temim / Princeton University, I. De Looze / Ghent University

How is a Belgian team involved in this?

Together with eight other people, I conducted research on dust in space at Ghent University. Space images are of course very important. With a team of international researchers led by Dr. Dan Milisavljevic from Purdue University, so we submitted what’s called an observation proposal to NASA. “After all, they are the ones who decide which images the James Webb Space Telescope takes.”

“Our team was lucky and selected. This is actually not that clear. It is a very popular telescope because it provides exceptionally detailed images. For example, the size of the mirror ensures that the light from faint objects in the room can be seen.”

Professor Ilse De Luz from Ghent University
Professor Ilse De Luz from Ghent University © rack

Why are you looking for materials? Is this useful?

“Through our work we want to understand how dust forms in galaxies. We know that dust can form in supernova remnants such as Cassiopeia A, but supernova shock waves can also destroy dust. We want to use our research to determine the exact contribution of this.”

“Take the special shape at the bottom right, for example. This is a light echo. It is dust in our Milky Way galaxy that has been heated by light from a supernova explosion about 350 years ago. This light echo allows the dust to be studied in detail. What are the properties of “This substance? And can you compare it to the dust found in our solar system? All of these questions have occupied our team for several years.”

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Winton Frazier

 "Amateur web lover. Incurable travel nerd. Beer evangelist. Thinker. Internet expert. Explorer. Gamer."

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