A star duo has made a staggering “fingerprint” in space.
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope revealed the wonderful sight in a new picture released Tuesday. Something like 17 dust rings seem to transmit from a pair of stars.
The pair of stars, known as Wolf-Rayet 140, is found in excess of 5,000 light years from Earth. As indicated by NASA, each ring was made when the stars became close enough for their stellar winds to met – packing gas and forming dust.
This occurs about once every eight years, NASA says, so the rings display the progression of time.
“The shells of dust are formed each time the stars reach a point in their orbit where they are closest to each other and their stellar winds interact,” Ryan Lau, an astronomer at NSF’s NOIRLab and lead author of a new study about Wolf-Rayet 140, wrote in a NASA blog post.
“The even spacing between the shells indicates that dust formation events are occurring like clockwork, once in each eight-year orbit. In this case, the 17 shells can be counted like tree rings, showing more than 130 years of dust formation,” Lau added.
The star duo is known as Wolf-Ravet 140 in light of the fact that one of the stars is a Wolf-Ravet star, an uncommon and gigantic O-type of star born with a mass very nearly 25 times bigger than our sun. This type of star is likewise approaching the finish of its life – making it to burn hotter than it did in its youth and lose its mass at an essentially high rate, NASA and the Swinburne University of Technology note.
Cosmologists estimate that there are two or three thousand Wolf-Ravet stars in our galaxy, however around 600 have been found to date, NASA adds. In any case, the fingerprint pattern that Wolf-Ravet 140 has made is unique.
“Some other Wolf-Rayet systems also form dust, but only WR 140 is known to make rings,” the Webb Telescope wrote on Twitter. “The ring pattern comes from WR 140’s Wolf-Rayet star, which has a unique elongated orbit.”
Wolf-Rayet stars may likewise play a role in the production of new stars and planets.
“When a Wolf-Rayet star clears an area, the swept-up material can pile up at the outskirts and become dense enough for new stars to form,” NASA writes. “There is some evidence the Sun formed in such a scenario.”
NASA added that the Webb Telescope’s Mid-Infrared Instrument, created by NASA and the European Space Agency, “is uniquely qualified to study the dust rings.” The MIRI eminently uncovered the composition of the shells’ dust, which was generally formed by the Wolf-Ravet star.