Webb’s latest image showcases the beautiful remnants of a supernova known as Cassiopeia A in a stunning new light. Cassiopeia A (also known as Cas A) is the youngest remnant of an exploding star. And this latest image gives astronomers even more data to dig into.
NASA has shared the latest Webb image from Cassiopeia A via Twitter and its website. According to a follow-up tweet from the space agency, light from Cas A’s supernova reached Earth roughly 340 years ago. However, the explosion is estimated to have taken place thousands of years ago.
The real value of this new image is when it’s compared to other images of Cas A. NASA claims that Webb’s latest image of Cassiopeia A contains details that we are unable to see due to Webb’s infrared instrumentation. The delightfully stunning colors at the edge of the top and left are new details, for example./
Many of you have rightfully brought up an important distinction, so we wanted to clear things up! Light from the supernova event reached Earth about 340 years ago, but the actual explosion would have taken place thousands of years ago due to the distance of Cas A from us.
— NASA Webb Telescope (@NASAWebb) April 7, 2023
These extra details, like those I noted above, showcase more about the supernova remnant. For example, the bright pink with knots and clumps at the top and bottom are within orange-red curtains, which NASA claims is made of supernova material. Webb’s image of Cassiopeia A showcases this, unlike any other image before it.
Despite being so beautiful, though, what remains of Cassiopeia A is another sad song in our universe’s long-standing history. And researchers involved with the program that took this new Webb image of Cassiopeia A say that they’re still trying to sort out the source of all the emissions.
Scientists hope that studying Cassiopeia A could help them uncover where cosmic dust comes from, as well as more about the building blocks of planets. Webb continues to observe the universe in spectacular fashion, bringing us closer to understanding the various parts that make up our expansive universe.
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