The image captured by the James Webb Space Telescope shows a light-year-sized cosmic “fingerprint”. In fact, it is a structure consisting of at least 17 rings of dust, consisting of a pair of unique stars closed by the laws of mechanics in a joint dance on the celestial sphere.
A new image from the James Webb Space Telescope has revealed a fascinating sight of at least 17 concentric rings of dust emerging from a binary star system. This pair of stars is more than 5,000 years away from St. of the earth and is collectively called Wolfright 140 (abbreviated as WR 140).
Each ring formed when the two stars approached in orbital motion and their stellar winds (the stream of gas exploding from the stars into space) met—the gas condensed and formed dust. The two stars orbit each other roughly every eight years. More recently, in 2016, the stars were closest to each other. Every such meeting in orbit leaves a trail of specks of dust – like growth rings in tree trunks.
We have been monitoring dust emissions in this system for more than a century — Lead author Ryan Lau said (NOIRLab) that appeared in the prestigious natural astronomy – This image also shows how sensitive this telescope is. Previously, we only saw two rings of dust using ground-based telescopes. Now we see at least 17 of them.
In addition to the Webb telescope’s overall sensitivity, the collaborating ‘plural’ Mary (Camera + Spectrometer + Crown) is uniquely configured to observe these rings of dust, or – as Lou and her colleagues call them – envelopes, because they are thicker and wider than they appear in this image. Web Scientific Instruments records infrared radiation invisible to the human eye. MIRI “sees” infrared radiation at longer wavelengths (MIRI: 5-28 µm vs. the human eye: ~0.5 µm) – which means it can often observe cooler objects than other Webb devices. The MIRI spectrometer also revealed the composition of the dust, which consists mostly of material ejected from the Wolf-Rayet star.
Infographic with the James Webb Space Telescope instruments and their detection range of electromagnetic radiation in the wavelength expressed in microns / micrometers (1 micrometer = 0.000001 metres). MIRI (short for Mid-Infrared Instrument, Camera + Spectrometer + Crown) monitors the mid-infrared 5-28 micrometers and is intended, among other things, for monitoring planets, comets, asteroids, starlight dust and protoplanetary disks. source: NASA
Wolf-Rayet stars are often abbreviated as WR or WR. These are very massive, unusual stars (usually 10-25 mʘ), very hot (effective temperature ~ 20-210 thousand K) and very bright. Wolf-Rayet stars were discovered in 1867 by C.J. Wolf and G. Rayet. These stars are constantly ejecting their outer atmosphere in bubble-like envelopes of gas molecules – generating powerful stellar winds.
Wolf-Rayet stars are spectral type O stars with an initial mass of at least 25 mʘwhich is in the last stages of its life and is likely to collapse into a black hole eventually. It generates strong winds that throw a huge amount of gas into space. Thus a wolf star in this binary system WR 140 can lose more than half of its initial mass.
Comparison of the relative size of the Sun and the two massive stars in the binary system WR 140. A spectral type O star of about 30 M massʘand its most advanced evolutionary companion, the Wolf-Rayet star – about 10 metersʘ. source: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Dust formation in stellar wind
Turning gas into dust is like turning flour into bread – it requires specific conditions and ingredients. The most abundant element in stars, hydrogen, cannot produce dust on its own. Wolf-Rayet stars lose so much mass that they also secrete heavier elements (including carbonate) that are normally found in the deep layers of a star. Heavier elements cool in the stellar winds as they move through space and then compress where the winds of both stars meet – just like two hands kneading dough.
Dust has been observed to form around some other Wolf-Rayet stars, but there are no rings like WR 140. This unique circular structure arises because the orbit of the Wolf-Rayet star in the WR 140 system is not circular but rather elliptical. When the two stars come close to each other at a distance of about 1 AU (the distance from the Earth to the Sun) and their winds collide, only then does the gas have enough pressure to form dust. In binary systems with Wolf-Rayet stars with circular orbits, dust can be generated continuously.
Lau and his colleagues believe that winds in WR 140 also “clean up” the surrounding area of residual matter that it could collide with. This may explain why the rings are so clear – without smearing or distraction. There will likely be more rings around WR 140, but it’s getting so faint and fuzzy that you can’t even see it through the Webb telescope.
Wolf-Rayet stars may look strange compared to the Sun. However, they can play a role in the formation of stars and planets. The matter, which condenses as a Wolf-Rayet star cleans its surroundings, can accumulate in the outer regions and become dense enough to form new stars. There are some clues (eg The proportions of the isotopes Al and Fe) that refers to such a scenario shaping our sun.
MIRI is working in the field of spectrometry Provided the best guide so far Wolf-Rayet stars produce carbon-rich dust particles. Moreover, the presence of a blanket of dust suggests that this dust may live in an inhospitable interstellar environment to provide materials for future construction of stars and planets.
The trick is that astronomers estimate the number of all Wolf-Rayet stars in the Milky Way at at least several thousand. However, only about 600 of these objects have been discovered so far.
Even if Wolf-Rayet stars are rare in our galaxy because they are short-lived relative to stars, it is possible that they produced a lot of dust in galactic history before they exploded and/or formed black holes. Co-author Patrick Morris said: Posted in Nature and an astrophysicist working at the California Institute of Technology (Pasadena, California, USA) – I think with the new telescope we will learn a lot about how these stars form interstellar matter and trigger the process of new star formation in galaxies.
A series of views showing dust formation in the WR 140 dual system, where the passage of time in the figures is clockwise. It’s an overhead view of the orbital plane. In this system, a Wolf-Rayet star (that is, the dense core of an ‘old’ massive star) and an O-type spectral star orbit a common center of mass in high elliptical orbits, their stellar winds colliding as the stars approach. The mixed material is mainly pushed toward the O star and forms dust as it cools. According to the laws of mechanics, the Wolf-Rayet star rotates three times more than the O star because its mass is about three times less (~10m).ʘ/ 30 mʘ). A full animation of the orbital motion of the WR 140 . system can be viewed over herej. Prepared based on the film NASA, European Space Agency, Joseph Olmsted (STScI)
Prepared by: Ryszard Pernikovic
Scientific Publication (Open Access – Creative Commons CC-BY License):
Dust shells overlapping around a wolf – Wright duo WR 140 observed with JWST
Original PDF version: Dust shells overlapping around a wolf – Wright duo WR 140 observed with JWST
Source: NASA / JPL-Caltech
Pictured: The James Webb Space Telescope displays a cosmic “fingerprint” on the celestial sphere as large as 70,000 astronomical units (~45 inches), or just over one light-year. They are dust rings around the binary star system WR 140 in the constellation Cygnus, which consists of massive stars (Wolf-Rayet star + O spectral star). Every eight years, a ring-like layer of dust forms around this system. Each ring forms during a stellar wind collision as the two stars move toward each other in an orbital motion. source: NASA / ESA / CSA / STScl / JPL-Caltech
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