NASA’s super space telescope zooms in on a dying star in a captivating new video, allowing viewers to glimpse into the depths of the cosmos.
The footage demonstrates how the James Webb Space Telescope acquires breathtaking, never-before-seen views of the universe by peering back in time to the Big Bang some 13.7 billion years ago.
The public is welcome to “step on board for the ride” as Webb speeds towards the Southern Ring Nebula, a planetary nebula around 2,500 light-years from Earth.
Even though it is named a “planetary nebula,” it has nothing to do with planets.
Instead, it is a vast expanding disc of gas and dust whose center is illuminated by a fading star.
The star has been emitting rings of material in all directions for thousands of years while shrouded in dust.
This is because, as stars age, they alter the manner in which they generate energy and dispose of their outer layers, before re-energizing the same material when it becomes very hot.
In a nutshell, Webb will document not just the birth of the first stars, but also their demise.