See the Southern Ring Nebula in 3D

The Southern Ring Nebula, or NGC 3132, was one of the first objects observed by the James Webb Space Telescope. Astronomers are digging more deeply into the nebula with additional observatories to expand their understanding of the structure. Image Credit: NASA/ESA/CSA/STScI

Planetary nebula are some of nature’s most stunning visual displays. The name is confusing since they’re the remains of stars, not planets. But that doesn’t detract from their status as objects of captivating beauty and intense scientific study.

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New Webb Image of a Massive Star Forming Complex

This image from the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope features an H II region in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). Credit: NASA/ESA/CSA/M. Meixner

The James Webb Space Telescope, a collaborative effort between NASA, the ESA, and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), has revealed some stunning new images of the Universe. These images have not only been the clearest and most details views of the cosmos; they’ve also led to new insight into cosmological phenomena. The latest image, acquired by Webb‘s Mid-InfraRed Instrument (MIRI), is of the star-forming nebula N79, located about 160,000 light-years away in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). The image features a bright young star and the nebula’s glowing clouds of dust and gas from which new stars form.

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You’ll Need all the Internet to Download the Full Resolution of this New Running Chicken Nebula Image

The Running Chicken Nebula comprises several clouds, all of which we can see in this vast image from the VLT Survey Telescope (VST), hosted at ESO’s Paranal site. This 1.5-billion pixel image spans an area in the sky of about 25 full Moons. Image Credit: ESO/VST

Over 6,000 light-years from Earth, an open star cluster and its nebula cover a swathe of sky over 270 light-years across. It’s called the Running Chicken Nebula, and it’s more than just one object. The Running Chicken Nebula, also called IC 2944, also contains IC 2948, the brightest part of the Chicken, as well as several Bok Globules and smaller nebulae. The bright star Lambda Centauri is near the visual center of the Chicken but is actually much closer to Earth.

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This Dark Nebula Hides an Enormous Star

Stars forming in this dark nebula, named G35.2-0.7N, are particularly massive and many of them will explode as supernovae. Image Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, R. Fedriani, J. Tan

The birth of a star is a spectacular event that plays out behind a veil of gas and dust. It’s a detailed process that takes millions of years to play out. Once a star leaves its protostar stage behind and begins its life of fusion, the star’s powerful radiative output blows the veil away.

But before then, astrophysicists are at a disadvantage.

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Incredible New Images of the Orion Nebula From JWST

This image shows the full survey of the inner Orion Nebula and Trapezium Cluster made using the NIRCam instrument on the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope. which reveals the nebula, its stars, and many other objects in unprecedented detail in the infrared. Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA / Science leads and image processing: M. McCaughrean, S. Pearson,

The Orion Nebula is one of the brightest star-forming regions in the sky, easily visible in a small telescope. But you’ve never seen anything like these new images from JWST. Researchers have created enormous mosaics of the region in both short and long-wavelength channels. An interactive interface from ESA allows you to zoom in and out of the image and switch between the views. You can see details in the stellar discs and outflows in the short-wavelength version, while the long-wavelength version reveals the network of dust and organic compounds.

The new images also reveal some mind-boggling enigmas.

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Astronomers Have Been Watching a Supernova’s Debris Cloud Expand for Decades with Hubble

This is a Hubble image of a very small region of the Cygnus Loop, a supernova remnant. The image shows a small part of the leading edge of the expanding bubble. Image Credit: NASA, ESA, Ravi Sankrit (STScI)

Twenty thousand years ago, a star in the constellation Cygnus went supernova. Like all supernovae, the explosion released a staggering amount of energy. The explosion sent a powerful shockwave into the surrounding space at half a million miles per hour, and it shows no signs of slowing down.

For twenty years, the Hubble Space Telescope has been watching some of the action.

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A Dying Red Giant Star has Thrown Out Giant Symmetrical Loops of Gas and Dust

A billowing pair of nearly symmetrical loops of dust and gas mark the death throes of an ancient red-giant star, as captured by the Gemini South telescope. Credit: International Gemini Observatory/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA

The Gemini South telescope has captured a new image of the glowing nebula IC 2220. Nicknamed the Toby Jug Nebula, this object got its name because it looks like an old English jug. But no fun drinking games are happening here.

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A Feline in the Heavens: The Smiling Cat Nebula

This is the Smiling Cat Nebula, aka Sh2-284. It's a stellar nursery of ionized hydrogen, powered by young stars in the center. If you can't see the cat, maybe you're more of a dog person. Image Credit: ESO/VPHAS+ team. Acknowledgement: CASU

A stellar nursery sounds like a placid place where baby stars go about their business undisturbed. But, of course, a stellar nursery is nothing like that. (Babies are noisy and cry a lot.) They’re dynamic places where powerful elemental forces rage mightily and bend the surroundings to their will. And this one, even though its name is the drowsy-sounding Smiling Cat Nebula, is no exception.

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The Tarantula Nebula Shouldn’t Be Forming Stars. What’s Going On?

30 Doradus, also known as the Tarantula Nebula, is a region in the Large Magellanic Cloud. Streamlines show the magnetic field morphology from SOFIA HAWC+ polarization maps. These are superimposed on a composite image captured by the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope and the Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy. Credit: Background: ESO, M.-R. Cioni/VISTA Magellanic Cloud survey. Acknowledgment: Cambridge Astronomical Survey Unit. Streamlines: NASA/SOFIA

The Tarantula Nebula is a star formation region in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). Tarantula is about 160,000 light-years away and is highly luminous for a non-stellar object. It’s the brightest and largest star formation region in the entire Local Group of galaxies.

But it shouldn’t be.

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New Images Reveal the Magnetic Fields in the Horsehead Nebula

Magnetic field detections overlaid on a two-color composite of Hubble Space Telescope image taken at two near-IR wavelengths (Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes). Black and orange segments show magnetic field orientations inferred from JCMT and Palomar Observatory. Credit: Hwang et al. 2023.

Located near the summit of Maunakea, Hawaii, the 15-meter (~49 ft) James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT) at the East Asia Observatory (EAO) is the largest telescope in the world designed to operate exclusively in the submillimetre-wavelength. In 2018, Molokai’i High School alumna Mallory Go was awarded time with the JCMT under the Maunakea Scholars program. With the assistance of EAO astronomer Dr. Harriet Parsons, Go obtained unique images of the Horsehead Nebula in polarized light, which revealed the nebula’s magnetic fields.

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