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Webb telescope captures never-before-seen details in iconic Ring Nebula image
Featured Image Credit: The University of Manchester /PA Wire/ NASA GSFC/CIL/Adriana Manrique Gutierrez

Webb telescope captures never-before-seen details in iconic Ring Nebula image

Scientists are excited about the new images from the Ring Nebula which will shape our understanding of stars - like our sun

You’ve heard about a ring around the moon, but what about one in space?

Well, scientists have used the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) to capture some incredible new images of the Ring Nebula.

Released on Thursday, an international team of astronomers worked on the project to showcase the star which is far, far away.

Headed by Professor Mike Barlow from UCL, Dr Nick Cox (ACRI-ST, France) and Professor Albert Zijlstra of the University of Manchester, the new photographs show the nebula in stunning detail.

The Ring Nebula, also known as Messier 57, is well-known among amateur astronomers as it’s visible throughout the summer months.

The stunning new image was captured by the James Webb Space Telescope.
The University of Manchester /PA Wire

If you are interested in spotting the celestial body yourself, it is in the constellation of Lyra and can be seen with a telescope on a clear night.

For all of you who’ve yet to look to the sky though, it’s worth noting that the nebula gets its name from the doughnut-like structure of glowing gas surrounding it.

This is formed when a star dies and throws out most of its mass at the end of its life.

Nebula can come in a variety of shapes and patterns, that can include delicate, glowing rings, expanding bubbles or intricate, wispy clouds.

Like fireworks, different chemical elements in the nebula emit light of specific colours – hence the spectacular colours in the new image.

Understandably, scientists are pretty excited about the new photos of the Ring Nebula, which could offer more information about the life cycle of stars such as our Sun.

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has captured some incredible images.

Gushing about the project, University of Manchester Professor Albert Zijlstra told press: “We are amazed by the details in the images, better than we have ever seen before.

“We always knew planetary nebulae were pretty. What we see now is spectacular.”

Lead scientist of the JWST Ring Nebula Project, Dr Mike Barlow, also shared his excitement about the new images.

He added: “The James Webb Space Telescope has provided us with an extraordinary view of the Ring Nebula that we’ve never seen before.

“The high-resolution images not only showcase the intricate details of the nebula’s expanding shell but also reveal the inner region around the central white dwarf in exquisite clarity.

“We are witnessing the final chapters of a star’s life, a preview of the sun’s distant future so to speak, and JWST’s observations have opened a new window into understanding these awe-inspiring cosmic events.”

Sadly though, there’s no getting up close and personal with the star just yet, as the nebula is some 2,600 light-years away from Earth.

Topics: Space, Technology, World News, Science