Star's 'chaotic' death restored with Webb image

An international team of astrophysicists analyzed the explosion of a star that formed a planetary

Eight Flare Nebula (or Southern Nebula)rings, NGC 3132). The study showed that two or three more companions rotated around the main star, which accelerated the death of the star, as well as an “observer star”.

Nebula NGC 3132 formed around 2500years ago after the explosion of a star about three times the size of the Sun. This cosmic event led to the release of gas, the remnants of which are gradually moving away from the center, and the formation of a white dwarf the size of the Earth and with a mass half that of the Sun.

Pictures of "Webb", processed in different filters.In the left image of the nebula, very hot gas is released, surrounding the two central stars, in the right - scattered molecular streams of gas that go into deep space. Image: NASA, ESA, CSA, and O. De Marco (Macquarie University)

The researchers found in the picture takenby the James Webb Space Telescope, traces of the influence of other stars that changed the direction of gas movement. The researchers reconstructed the explosion and saw in the image a pair of protrusions that can occur when astronomical objects eject matter in the form of a jet. They have an irregular shape and diverge in different directions. This indicates the interaction of three objects in the center, scientists say.

In addition, astrophysicists noticed in the pictureseveral spiral structures extending from the center. Similar concentric circles form when a star actively loses mass in the presence of another companion star. The source of this impact, the authors of the study believe, survived the explosion and is also visible in the photo.

We believe the star had one or two veryclose satellite, an additional one at medium distance and one very far away. If so, then four or even five objects are involved in this chaotic death.

Orsola De Marco, co-author of the paper from Macquarie University

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On the cover: The Eight Flare Nebula. Image: NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI