NASA's James Webb Telescope reveals a sight to behold - a Supernova remnant

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope has snapped SN 1987A, a supernova remnant, some 168,000 light-years away. Webb Telescope's NIRCam reveals a dense keyhole, an equatorial ring, and crescent shapes from the explosion.

| Updated on: Sep 01 2023, 12:52 IST
5 asteroids, including a 200-foot monster, approaching Earth over the next 48 hours, NASA says
James Webb Telescope
1/5 Asteroid 2023 QH: NASA's JPL has detected the approach of Asteroid 2023 QH towards Earth today, on August 31st. According to NASA's assessment, this asteroid measures approximately 200 feet in diameter and is hurtling towards Earth at a staggering speed of 57,259 kilometers per hour. Fortunately, its closest approach to our planet will be at a  distance of 4.6 million kilometers. Given its relatively small size, similar to that of an aircraft, there is no cause for concern as it will safely pass by Earth. (Pexels)
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2/5 Asteroid 2023 QB2: Tomorrow, on September 1st, Asteroid 2023 QB2 is set to approach Earth. NASA has categorized this celestial body as "house-sized," estimating its size at around 60 feet in diameter. It will be traveling at a velocity of 25,793 kilometers per hour and will come closest to Earth at a distance of 3.19 million kilometers. (Unsplash)
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3/5 Asteroid 2023 QZ1: On September 1st, an airplane-sized asteroid named 2023 QZ1 will make its approach towards Earth at a speed of 35,337 kilometers per hour. Measuring approximately 160 feet in diameter, it will pass by our planet at a distance of 6.97 million kilometers. (Pixels)
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4/5 Asteroid 2023 QU: Brace for the arrival of Asteroid 2023 QU on September 2nd, moving at a velocity of 35,337 kilometers per hour. This aircraft-sized asteroid, with a diameter of about 100 feet, will approach Earth at a distance of 5.22 million kilometers. (Pixabay)
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5/5 Asteroid 2017 BY32: Also expected to approach Earth on September 2nd is Asteroid 2017 BY32. Measuring 58 feet in diameter, roughly the size of a house, it will be hurtling towards Earth at a speed of 12,446 kilometers per hour. Its closest approach to our planet will be at a distance of 6.29 mn kilometers.  (Pixabay)
James Webb Telescope
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James Webb Telescope's high-res imagery has surpassed past observations, shedding light on celestial enigmas like neutron star formation. NIRSpec and MIRI observations will deepen our cosmic understanding. (NASA, ESA, CSA, M. Matsuura, R. Arendt, C. Fransson)

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope has imaged the SN 1987A, a distant supernova remnant in the Large Magellanic Cloud, 168,000 light-years away. Webb Telescope's NIRCam has uncovered intricate structures, outshining prior observations. With international collaboration from NASA, ESA, and the Canadian Space Agency, Webb aims to unravel cosmic mysteries using high-resolution imagery. Check out the highlights below:

1. SN 1987A, discovered in 1987, has been a subject of intensive research spanning nearly four decades, examined across various wavelengths from gamma rays to radio waves.

2. The James Webb Space Telescope's Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) has recently provided valuable insights into the evolution of supernovae and their remnants.

3. A notable discovery is a dense, keyhole-shaped central structure filled with gas and dust ejected during the supernova explosion, impervious even to near-infrared light.

4. Surrounding the central keyhole is a luminous equatorial ring, composed of material expelled tens of thousands of years before the supernova's explosion, marked by bright hot spots where the shockwave has interacted with it.

5. Webb's high-resolution images surpass the capabilities of previous telescopes like Hubble Space Telescope, Spitzer Telescope, and Chandra X-Ray Telescope, offering unprecedented clarity and detail.

6. Despite decades of study, many mysteries persist, especially regarding the expected formation of a neutron star following the supernova.

7. Webb will continue its observations of SN 1987A, utilizing its Near-Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec) and Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) to gather high-fidelity infrared data, enhancing our comprehension of the recently discovered crescent structures.

8. The James Webb Space Telescope is a leading space science observatory with global collaboration, including NASA, ESA (European Space Agency), and the Canadian Space Agency, and it will collaborate with other observatories to uncover further secrets of SN 1987A.

9. This telescope explores enigmas within our solar system, studies remote exoplanets, and delves into the origins and structures of the universe.

In summary, Webb's groundbreaking observations of SN 1987A have opened new avenues for scientific inquiry, offering unprecedented insights into the aftermath of supernovae and the evolution of celestial remnants.

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First Published Date: 01 Sep, 12:27 IST
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