The James Webb Space Telescope continues to amaze with every new image released. Among the most recent images released were those of Herbig-Haro 797 (HH 797), the area at the center of the Milky Way called Sagittarius C (Sgr C) or the cluster MACS0416 (also thanks to the Hubble Space Telescope). The latest publication concerns the Supernova Cassiopeia A (Cas A), which glows in a variety of colors thanks to data collected by NIRCam in the near infrared and MIRI in the mid infrared.
The Supernova it is approximately 11,000 light years away from Earth, in the constellation Cassiopeia with theexplosion roughly what would have happened 340 years ago. Thanks to the potential of JWST It was possible to discover details that were not previously clear and thus to have new data to try to understand the evolution of this type of celestial objects, which are the basis for the emergence of elements necessary for the formation of more complex Molecules, planets, etc. are useful for life. We know this.
The James Webb Space Telescope and the image of the supernova Cassiopeia A
Second what was reported together from NASA And ESAthanks to the data collected in infrared Supernova Cassiopeia A shows the violent explosion (the image spans 19 light-years) in all its detail, with filaments of gas dispersing through space and colliding with the gas previously released by the star in the final stages of its life.
As in other cases, it was not the case James Webb Space Telescope to discover it and actually, Cassiopeia A It is one of the best-studied supernovae (thanks to multiple telescopes). The first data was collected by NIRCam but it was thanks to the use of MIRI (mid-infrared) in April 2023 that it was possible that certain features of the innermost part of the supernova were not visible in the near-infrared.
In the’Picture From NIRCam of James Webb Space Telescope Structures in orange and pink can be seen that are located in the “inner shell” from that Supernova. Elements such as sulfur, oxygen, argon and neon occur here. Together with dust and other gases, these elements gradually form more complex molecules that can then be used by other stars, but also by planets (as described above).
The NIRCam image, click to enlarge
The outermost part with NIRCam appears less brightly colored than MIRI and is related to the different emissions. These structures are related to the dust that is in this area and cools down. The white color is related to synchrotron radiation, which in turn is produced by charged particles moving very quickly along the lines of a magnetic field.
Among other things, differences in the image of MIRI compared to NIRCam it is the presence of a zone in the first “greenish” that was called “Green Monster” (Green Monster). However, in the mid-infrared region, areas containing ionized gas are not enhanced, whereas in the near-infrared region they are colored white and violet. Again, it would be the interaction between the gas ejected during the explosion and the gas ejected from the star before the explosion.
The image from MIRI, click to enlarge
There is also an object with a nickname at the bottom right of the NIRCam image Baby Cas A. It could be the emission of a star located behind it Cassiopeia A (from our perspective) about 170 light-years away, which heats the dust in the middle. This structure is still being analyzed, but seems to be of particular interest to researchers. For NIRCam Filters for the wavelengths 1.62 μm, 3.56 μm and 4.44 μm were used, to which the colors blue, green and red were assigned. For MIRI Instead, filters for the wavelengths 5.6 μm, 7.7 μm, 10 μm, 11 μm, 12 μm, 18 μm, 21 μm and 25 μm were used and assigned to the colors blue, cyan, green, yellow, orange and red. The ESA also published high-resolution images both for MIRI The for NIRCam.