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Rings of dust, formed from stellar winds, as seen by the Webb Telescope.

Rings of dust, formed from stellar winds, as seen by the Webb Telescope.

Rings of dust, formed from stellar winds, as seen by the Webb Telescope.

When two stars come close together, their stellar winds (streams of gas they blow into space) combine, which compress the gas, forming dust, and rings of dust mark the loop time. The James Webb Space Telescope captured an image of the Wolf-Rayet 140, located 5,000 light-years from Earth, The rare type of star in this image is locked in a celestial dance by its companion, showing 17 concentric dust rings emanating from a pair of stars, the image reveals a remarkable cosmic view.


This image shows how sensitive the Webb telescope is, says NOIRLab astronomer Ryan Lau, because before, we could only see two dust rings using ground-based telescopes, But webb has shown us at least 17 rings. In addition to Webb’s overall sensitivity, the Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) is uniquely qualified to study dust rings, say Lau and his colleague Gole, Because webb’s instruments detect infrared light, which cannot be seen by the human eye, it is a range of wavelengths invisible to the human eye.


MIRI is an instrument on the James Webb Space Telescope, consisting of a camera and a spectrograph, that allows viewing of mid- to long-range infrared radiation from 5 to 28 µm, seen nearby objects hidden in the star’s dazzling glare, MIRI has a coronagraph, whose main purpose is to see the corona of the Sun. MIRI is able to detect the longest infrared wavelengths, and can see cooler objects, including rings of dust, and MIRI’s spectrometer itself has revealed a composition of dust, mostly Wolf-Rayet  Formed from the material ejected by the star.