When it initially appeared on social media in September, many people were perplexed by it, but astronomers in the know were thrilled because of the insights they could derive
The image depicts WR 140. It is a binary system of two stars that is around 5,000 light-years away from Earth
This star's initial size was probably equal to that of its companion, an O-type star with a mass 30 times that of the Sun.
Dust particles are created as their winds compress. It's interesting to note that, instead of peaking at closest approach, this dust production is highest as the two stars travel toward and away from one another.
PAHs, or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, predominate in the shells. These compounds contain a lot of carbon
Eight highly noticeable spikes of light emanated from the center stars in the first Webb depictions of WR 140 that circulated on social media.
These were only side effects of the segmented mirror design of the telescope.
In their eight-year orbit around one another, these are pushed out as the two objects approach closer to one another.