Webb’s latest image showcases the beautiful remnants of a supernova known as Cassiopeia A in a stunning new light. Cassiopeia A, often referred to as Cas A for short, is the youngest known remnant from a massive exploding star, according to NASA. And this latest image gives astronomers even more data to dig into.
NASA shared the newest Webb image of Cassiopeia A on Twitter and on 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 pricelessness of the new image comes when you compare it to previous captures of Cas A. NASA says that the newest Webb image of Cassiopeia A shows details we haven’t been able to see, thanks to Webb’s infrared instruments. The delightfully stunning colors at the edge of the top and left are new details, for example./
These extra details, like those I noted above, showcase more about the supernova remnant. The bright pink with clumps and knots found at the top and left, for instance, lie within curtains of orange and red, which NASA says are made up of material from the supernova. 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.