Daily Mail

Champagne... a supernova!

- By Sam Tonkin

IT isn’t every day that a star’s dying moments are captured in such stunning detail.

So stargazers have raised a glass to this astonishin­g image of WR 124, which is 30 times bigger than the Sun, as it is poised to explode into a supernova before collapsing into a black hole.

It is a process called the Wolf-Rayet phase – just one in a hundred million stars go through this, becoming ferociousl­y bright, hot and doomed to collapse. WR 124, a staggering 15,000 lightyears away, was seen in unpreceden­ted detail by NASA’s new £7.4billion James Webb space telescope.

It is shown blowing off its outer layers to prepare for its impending death. As it does so, it emits a huge cloud of dust and gas which cools and produces a beautiful halo that glows in infrared.

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