The James Webb Space Telescope has made one of its first images of WR 124, a Wolf-Rayet star 15,000 light-years away in the constellation Sagittarius. The star is one of the brightest, most massive, and briefly observable stars known.

Now come to the point that,

Webb’s instruments reveal the detailed structure of WR 124’s nebula!

The Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) on Webb reveals that Wolf-Rayet stars are effective dust emitters. In longer mid-infrared wavelengths, cooler cosmic dust illuminates, revealing the structure of WR 124’s nebula. Webb’s Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) balances the brightness of the star core of WR 124 with the intricate details in the fainter gas surrounding it.

Here is a term to know,

What is WR 124?

The material-ejected ring nebula M1-67  surrounds WR 124 a Wolf–Rayet star in the constellation Sagitta. At a radial velocity of around 200 kilometers per second, it is one of the fastest runaway stars in the Milky Way. Paul W discovered it in 1938. Merrill and classified as a Wolf–Rayet star with a high velocity. WR 124 is 30 times the Sun’s mass and has already shed 10 Suns’ worth of material. As the blasted gas recedes from the star and cools, cosmic dust develops and emits infrared light that Webb can detect.

So, here arises the question,

What is the importance of observing the rare Wolf-Rayet phase?

Before going supernova, massive stars go through a short Wolf-Rayet phase. Webb’s detailed observations of this rare phase are helpful to astronomers because they show how this phase works. Wolf-Rayet stars are now shedding their outer layers, resulting in their characteristic gas and dust halos.


How does WR 124 help in understanding the early history of the universe?

Astronomers use stars like WR 124 as analogs to comprehend better a crucial period in the universe’s early history. These dying stars initially seeded the newborn cosmos with heavy elements formed in their cores, elements that are now widespread across the universe, including on Earth.


Contribution to the universe’s “dust budget”!

Astronomers are interested in the genesis of cosmic dust that can survive a supernova explosion and contribute to the universe’s overall “dust budget” for a variety of reasons. Dust plays an essential function in the universe as it provides shelter for budding stars, aids in the formation of planets, and provides a platform for molecules, including the building blocks of life on Earth, to form and clump together. Despite dust’s crucial roles, there is more dust in the universe than can be explained by astronomers’ existing dust-formation hypotheses. The universe has an excess of dust in its budget.

We will be looking forward for,

Future possibilities for studying cosmic dust!

Before Webb, dust-loving astronomers required more specific data to investigate concerns of dust creation in environments such as WR 124 and whether the dust grains were large enough to survive the supernova and become a significant contributor to the total dust budget. Webb offers new opportunities for researching cosmic dust. It is best viewed at infrared light wavelengths.

Revealed Wolf Rayet star nebula
Credits: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, Webb ERO Production Team



NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has looked at WR 124, a Wolf-Rayet star that is 15,000 light-years away and is in the constellation Sagittarius. Webb’s instruments have given us a clear picture of how the star’s nebula is put together. This shows that Wolf-Rayet stars are good at making dust. Before going supernova, WR 124 goes through a short phase called Wolf-Rayet, which is interesting for astronomers to study. Astronomers can also use stars like WR 124 to learn about a critical time in the universe’s early history. Cosmic dust is essential to the universe, and Webb gives us new ways to study it. Infrared wavelengths of light show the best cosmic dust, which Webb can also see.


Published by: Sky Headlines

Space experts are warning that an asteroid named 2023 DW, could collide with Earth on Valentine’s Day in 2046. The 50-meter-wide asteroid was discovered by the European Space Agency on February 26, 2023. It is expected to take over two decades to reach Earth, possibly even three.

The asteroid has been added to the “risk list,” which documents objects in space that could potentially impact Earth. According to NASA’s Center for Near Earth Objects, the asteroid poses no unusual level of danger. And the chance of collision is currently extremely unlikely. However, 2023 DW is the only object on the list with a ranking higher than zero on the Torino Scale, which rates space objects’ risk of colliding with Earth.

Valentine's Day 2046
Captured by Nasa’s Lucy spacecraft. Photograph: NASA/Goddard/ZUMA Press Wire Service/REX/Shutterstock

However, we need to know,

What do scientists say about this event?

Italian astronomer Piero Sicoli has predicted a 1 in 400 chance of 2023 DW hitting Earth and has even developed a map indicating where the asteroid could potentially strike. Despite this, the planetary defense coordination office at NASA states that the risk of collision with Earth is currently very small.

Davide Farnocchia is a navigation engineer at the JPL in Pasadena, California. He says: “This object is not particularly concerning,”

If the asteroid collided with Earth, it could cause catastrophic damage. With a diameter of 50 meters, the impact could be equivalent to a nuclear explosion. It resulted in widespread destruction and loss of life.

While the risk of collision is currently very low, scientists are constantly monitoring the asteroid’s trajectory and making updates to their predictions as new data becomes available.  Technology cannot rule out the possibility of a collision with Earth completely.

NASA said on its official Asteroid Watch account on Twitter: “We’ve been tracking a new asteroid named 2023 DW. It has a very small chance of impacting Earth in 2046″.  Moreover, NASA added: “Often when new objects are first discovered, it takes several weeks of data to reduce the uncertainties and adequately predict their orbits years into the future.”

If you are wondering,

Is this the first time an asteroid is going to collide with Earth?

It’s important to note that the Solar System is indeed filled with millions of asteroids. Many of them come close to Earth regularly. Astronomers have been tracking near-Earth objects for decades, and are discovering new ones all the time.

Earlier this year, in January, astronomers observed one of the closest approaches by a known near-Earth object ever recorded. This object, called 2023 BU, was only the size of a box truck, but it came very close to Earth – closer than the distance between the Earth and the Moon. Astronomers only discovered it a week before its closest approach, highlighting the need for continued vigilance in tracking these objects.

In short, the specific asteroid 2023 DW that astronomers have predicted to impact Earth on Valentine’s Day 2046 is getting a lot of attention. It’s certainly not the first time an asteroid has come close to our planet.  Hence, it likely won’t be the last. Scientists and astronomers are constantly monitoring the skies for potential threats and working on developing technologies to mitigate the risk of an impact.

Hence, the question arises:

What are the efforts of scientists to Deflect Hazardous Asteroids?

In the meantime, researchers and space agencies are working on developing methods to deflect potentially hazardous asteroids away from Earth’s orbit. The consequences of a collision with an asteroid could be catastrophic, and we must continue to invest in this technology to protect our planet from future threats.

As Valentine’s Day 2046 approaches, the world will be watching closely as scientists track the trajectory of asteroid 2023 DW. The risk of collision is currently low. So, we must remain vigilant and prepared for any potential threats to our planet.

Here is a point to clear;

What is the role of DART’s mission?

While an asteroid’s impact may seem unlikely, scientists and professionals are creating tools and techniques to reduce the risk. The DART mission’s success implies we can prepare for near-Earth objects like asteroids with proper planning and preparation.

The Planetary Defense Coordination Office will decide if and when to take action if 2023 DW, the asteroid projected to crash Earth on Valentine’s Day 2046. The recently tested Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) impactor could be used to change an asteroid’s trajectory.

NASA’s DART mission successfully collided a spacecraft into an asteroid to adjust its trajectory, showing that scientists and professionals can prepare for potentially dangerous space rocks. Scientists have prepared for years to encounter an asteroid.

NASA announced DART’s success in October 2021. The DART mission changed its direction by crashing a spacecraft into a tiny asteroid, showing that such technologies may divert a dangerous asteroid.

Mr. Farnocchia said: “That’s the very reason why we flew that mission,”.He says, “and that mission was a spectacular success.”

So now let’s wrap this up:


NASA experts are warning of a potential hazard to Earth in 2046. As a 50-meter-wide asteroid named 2023, DW might collide with the planet on Valentine’s Day. While scientists are now considering the chance of collision extremely low. As astronomers have added asteroid to the “risk list” of objects in space that has the potential to impact Earth. This is the only object on the list with a Torino Scale ranking over zero. The effects of a collision with an asteroid could be devastating. Researchers and space agencies are working on creating means to deflect potentially harmful asteroids away from Earth’s orbit. Experts are now counting on NASA’s asteroid-punishing DART probe to deflect the asteroid.


Published by: Sky Headlines

The Moon has always been a source of fascination for humanity, inspiring myths and legends across different cultures. Howeverour understanding of the Moon has grown in the last century in the last century thanks to space agencies’ efforts worldwide. India has also stepped forward to uncover the mysteries and disclose the myths about the moon. The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) launched a series of missions called Chandrayaan to the Moon to learn more about its composition, structure, and history. Chandrayaan-1 launched in 2008 and discovered water on the Moon. ISRO launched Chandrayaan-2, a moon landing project, in 2019. Despite the lander’s crash, the orbiter continues to collect data. ISRO has prepared its next attempt Chandrayaan-3 to land a spacecraft on the moon for flight. ISRO will launch the spacecraft in June 2023.

All these projects highlight India’s expanding capacity for space research and its dedication to expanding humanity’s knowledge of space and expanding humanity’s place in it.

Now, we will discuss the Chandrayaan missions launched from India, which have significantly advanced our understanding of the nearest celestial neighbors.

Let’s start with,

Chandrayaan-1: The First Indian Lunar Space Probe

On October 22, 2008, India’s national space agency, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), officially started its Chandrayaan Missions with Chandrayaan-1, India’s first lunar space probe. The scientists designed the mission to conduct remote sensing studies of the Moon from lunar orbit. It collected data on the lunar surface’s mineralogy and elemental composition. Built at only Rs. 386 crores ($76 million), within three years, it was a low-cost spacecraft. Chandrayaan-1 carried a suite of scientific instruments from India, the United States, and the European Space Agency (ESA), making it a truly international effort.

Chandrayaan Missions: Chandrayaan 1
Image Credit: ISRO

Now, you may need to know,

What were the mission objectives and instrumentation?

Chandrayaan-1 had several objectives, including mapping the Moon in infrared, visible, and X-ray light and prospecting for various elements, minerals, and ice. Some of the particular instruments on board the spacecraft included:

  • To create a three-dimensional atlas of the lunar surface, which would help study the distribution of elements and minerals.
  • Determining the extent and depth of water-ice deposits on the lunar surface is essential for future human settlements.
  • Studying the moon’s mineral composition and geology would help us understand its formation and evolution.
  • To study the moon’s atmosphere, particularly the presence of helium-3, a rare isotope that could be used as a fuel in nuclear fusion.
  • To test new technologies for future space missions. Such as a new imaging spectrometer and a miniaturized synthetic aperture radar.

On the whole,

Is Chandrayaan-1 a success or failure?

The mission started on Oct. 22, 2008, and ended on Aug. 28, 2009. The scientists planned to leave the spacecraft in space for about two years.  But, sadly couldn’t keep exploring due to technical issues. During its operational lifetime of approximately ten months, Chandrayaan-1 made several significant discoveries, including detecting water on the Moon’s surface and mapping various elements and minerals on the lunar surface. However, the mission ended abruptly in 2009 when radio contact was lost with the spacecraft.

ISRO says that this spacecraft has almost all its objectives accomplished by then. So instead of any emergency crash, it is better to dismantle it. Chandrayaan-1 did not crash. But the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO)  intentionally ended its mission. The spacecraft was in a polar orbit around the Moon. It had completed more than 3,400 orbits and collected a wealth of scientific data. However, communication with the spacecraft was lost and attempts to re-establish contact failed. Intovoid any potential damage or interference with future lunar missions, ISRO intentionally crashed the spacecraft into the lunar surface. The exact location of the impact is unknown. But scientists believe that it is in the Moon’s south pole region.

Later on, ISRO succeeded in building up another spacecraft,

Chandrayaan-2: India’s Ambitious Lunar Lander Mission

One of the Chandrayaan Missions, Chandrayaan-2, also known as 44441, was a landmark Indian lunar mission launched by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) on July 22, 2019. The Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV-MkIII) carried out the mission. It aimed to explore the uncharted lunar south pole region. With a total mass of 3850 kg and a nominal power of 1000 W, the Chandrayaan-2 mission lasted almost a month, from its launch date until its unfortunate end on August 20, 2019. The mission was a significant milestone in India’s space exploration program and had several key objectives, including mapping the lunar surface, studying the composition of the Moon’s atmosphere, and searching for evidence of water on the lunar surface.

Chandrayaan Missions: Chandrayaan 2
Image Credit: ISRO

Let’s take a closer look on,

What were the mission objectives and instrumentation?

Chandrayaan-2 had several objectives, including conducting high-resolution remote sensing of the lunar surface, studying the Moon’s water ice deposits, and characterizing the Moon’s tenuous atmosphere. Some of the special instruments on board the spacecraft included:

  • The mission aimed to study the lunar surface’s topography, mineralogy, and geology to understand its origin and evolution.
  • Chandrayaan-2 aimed to detect and map the distribution of water ice on the Moon’s surface, which could be a potential resource for future space exploration.
  • The mission aimed to study the Moon’s tenuous atmosphere and understand its composition and dynamics.
  • Chandrayaan-2 also aimed to demonstrate India’s capabilities in soft landing on the lunar surface and rover mobility on the Moon.

Are you wondering,

How did Chandrayaan-2 fail?

The Chandrayaan-2 mission, unfortunately, met an untimely end when communication was lost during the lander descent at an altitude of about 2.1 km. Despite crashing on the lunar surface at 70.881 S, 22.784 E, the lander appeared to remain in one piece. But all communications and operations were impossible. The rover, which was supposed to be deployed shortly after landing, needed help to complete its mission. 

Although the lander and rover portions of the mission were planned for only 14-15 days, the orbiter continues to operate and gather valuable data about the Moon. Despite the challenges faced during the mission, Chandrayaan-2 was a significant achievement for India’s space exploration program. It contributed to our understanding of the Moon’s composition and the potential for future human exploration. The lessons learned from this mission will undoubtedly inform future lunar missions and continue to advance the field of planetary science.

Last but not least, 

Chandrayaan-3: India’s Next Lunar Mission:

After the success of Chandrayaan-1 and the ambitious Chandrayaan-2 mission failure, India’s space agency, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), is not stopping its Chandrayaan Missions. Chandrayaan-3, also known as Chandrayaan3, is the upcoming lunar mission of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). Scientists have designed it to pick up where the Chandrayaan-2 mission left off. The primary objective of this mission is to further explore and study the Moon’s surface, with a specific focus on the south polar region. 

The mission will be launched using the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV-MkIII) from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, India. With a mass of 1752 kg and a nominal power of 738 W, Chandrayaan-3 is expected to be launched in June 2023. The scientists originally planned to launch the mission in 2020. But has been delayed due to technical issues and the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s what we know so far about Chandrayaan-3.

Chandrayaan Missions: Chandrayaan 3
Image Credit: ISRO

Now let us take a closer look on,

What is the mission design?

Chandrayaan 3 is a lunar mission scheduled to launch in 2023 from Sriharikota, India, using a GSLV Mark 3 heavy-lift launch vehicle. After entering an elliptic parking orbit, the propulsion module will bring the lander/rover into a 100 km circular polar lunar orbit. Then it will separate from it. The lander will then touch down with the rover in the Moon’s south polar region, near 69.37 S, 32.35 E. 

The touchdown velocity will be less than 2 m/s vertical and 0.5 m/s horizontal to ensure a safe landing. The propulsion module/communications relay satellite will remain in lunar orbit to enable communications with Earth, with Chandrayaan 2 serving as a backup relay. The lander and rover are designed to operate for one lunar daylight period, which is about 14 Earth days. This mission will enable further exploration of the lunar surface and allow for studying the Moon’s geology and resources.


What scientific instruments are onboard Chandrayaan 3?

Chandrayaan-3, the third lunar mission by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), will consist of a propulsion module, a lander, and a rover. The propulsion module generates 758 W power and carries the lander and rover to the moon. The lander has various sensors to ensure a safe touchdown, and the rover is equipped with navigation cameras and a solar panel that generates 50 W power. 

The lander will carry four scientific instruments: Chandra’s Surface Thermophysical Experiment (ChaSTE), the Instrument for Lunar Seismic Activity (ILSA), the Radio Anatomy of Moon Bound Hypersensitive ionosphere and Atmosphere (RAMBHA), and a passive laser retroreflector array provided by NASA. The rover will carry two instruments to study the local surface elemental composition. These include an Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) and Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscope (LIBS).

The propulsion module/orbiter will carry the Spectropolarimetry of the Habitable Planet Earth (SHAPE) experiment to study Earth from lunar orbit. It will launch in June 2023, using the GSLV-MkIII launch vehicle from Sriharikota, India.


What are the objectives of Chandrayaan-3?

The objectives of this Chandrayaan Mission are similar to that of its predecessor, Chandrayaan-2. The mission aims to conduct a soft landing on the lunar surface and deploy a rover to explore the surface in greater detail. The primary scientific goals of the mission are:

  • To study the composition of the lunar surface: Chandrayaan-3 will carry scientific instruments to study the lunar surface’s mineralogy, elemental composition, and water content. This data will help scientists understand the Moon’s formation and evolution better.
  • To study the lunar environment: The mission will also study the lunar environment. It includes the Moon’s tenuous atmosphere, magnetic field, and radiation environment. This data will help scientists understand the challenges faced by future human missions to the Moon.
  • To explore the South Pole-Aitken Basin: The landing site for Chandrayaan-3 is expected to be near the Moon’s South Pole-Aitken Basin. This basin is particularly interesting to scientists because it is the largest and oldest impact basin on the Moon. Studying the basin’s composition and structure could shed light on the early history of the Moon and the solar system.

What are India’s expectations with Chandrayaan Missions?

India is not anywhere close to stopping the progress of uncovering the mysteries of the moon. Regardless of the Chandrayaan-2 failure, India heads up to discover more of the moon’s surface and neighboring celestial stars. India is now looking at its masterpiece with fixed eyes to accomplish the objectives of Chandrayaan-2.

Published by: Sky Headlines

A massive simulated survey has been developed by scientists, which provides insight into what can be anticipated from the future observations of the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope. Even though this virtual version is only a bit of the actual survey that will take place, it comprises an enormous number of 33 million galaxies and 200,000 foreground stars in our galaxy.

So to clarify the point,

How utilizing the simulation can help the scientists?

By utilizing the simulation, scientists can strategize the most effective observing techniques, experiment with various methods to extract useful information from the vast amount of data gathered by the mission, and investigate the potential benefits of conducting simultaneous observations with other telescopes.

An assistant professor of physics at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina “Michael Troxel” says: “The volume of data Roman will return is unprecedented for a space telescope”. Moreover, he said: “Our simulation is a testing ground we can use to make sure we will get the most out of the mission’s observations.”

Here is to know;

What role do the Rubin and Roman simulations employ?

The researchers used a mock universe, initially created to aid scientific planning for the Vera C. Rubin Observatory located in Chile, which will commence entire operations in 2024. The Rubin and Roman simulations employ the same source. So, astronomers can make a comparison between them to determine what they can gain by combining the telescopes’ observations. Once they are both actively surveying the cosmos. Troxel has led the paper detailing the findings. And scientists have approved it for publication in The Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Simulated Survey of Grace Telescope Insights from NASA
Credits: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and M. Troxel

Term to know,

What is Cosmic Construction?

The High Latitude Wide Area Survey of the Roman Space Telescope will include imaging and spectroscopy, with the former being the primary subject of the latest simulation. Spectroscopy gauges the intensity of light emitted by celestial objects at varying wavelengths. In contrast, Roman’s imaging will expose the exact locations and forms of countless faint galaxies utilized for charting dark matter. Although invisible, astronomers can deduce its existence by observing its influence on ordinary matter. Scientists will employ both techniques over an immense stretch of the universe.

The presence of mass bends the structure of space-time, with larger masses producing a more significant impact.  Scientists called this phenomenon as gravitational lensing. Whereby light emanating from a remote source is distorted when it passes through intervening objects. When the things causing the lensing are massive or clusters of galaxies, it can alter or appear as background sources as multiple images.

Simulated Survey of Grace Telescope
Credits: Caltech-IPAC/R. Hurt

Let’s come to the point,

What is weak lensing?

Objects with less mass can generate more subtle effects, known as weak lensing. The Roman Space Telescope will be capable of using weak lensing to detect how dark matter clusters affect the appearance of remote galaxies. By observing these lensing effects, researchers can expand our understanding of dark matter by filling in the gaps in our knowledge.

A physics professor at Ohio State University in Columbus and a co-author of the paper is “Chris Hirata”. He says: “Theories of cosmic structure formation make predictions for how the seed fluctuations in the early universe grow into the distribution of matter that can be seen through gravitational lensing”. Moreover, he says: “But the predictions are statistical in nature. So we test them by observing vast regions of the cosmos. Scientists will optimize Roman, with its wide field of view,  to efficiently survey the sky. It will complement observatories such as the James Webb Space Telescope that are designed for deeper investigation of individual objects.”

Ground and Space

The simulated survey of the Roman Space Telescope encompasses an expanse of 20 square degrees in the sky, which is roughly equivalent to the size of 95 full moons. When the scientists conduct the actual survey, it will be a hundred times larger, revealing over a billion galaxies. Meanwhile, the Vera C. Rubin Observatory will survey an even broader section, spanning 18,000 square degrees, almost half of the entire sky. However, it will possess lower resolution as it must penetrate Earth’s turbulent atmosphere.

Pairing the Roman and Rubin simulations presents an opportunity for researchers to attempt the detection of identical objects in both sets of images, a previously unattainable feat. This is significant because ground-based observations frequently lack the resolution to distinguish multiple closely situated sources as distinct entities. At times, they may merge, adversely affecting weak lensing measurements. Scientists can now determine the difficulties and advantages of “deblending” such objects by comparing Rubin’s images with Roman images.



Here arises the question,

How will Roman’s extensive perspective of the cosmos enable astronomers?

Roman’s extensive perspective of the cosmos will enable astronomers to achieve much more than the survey’s original objectives. Such as studying the evolution and structure of the universe, charting dark matter, and differentiating between leading theories that seek to explain the accelerating expansion of the universe. With the new synthetic Roman data at their disposal, researchers can preview additional scientific breakthroughs. It will stem from acquiring a highly detailed view of such a vast region of the universe.

The senior project scientist for the Roman mission at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt  Maryland is  “Julie McEnery”. She says: “With Roman’s gigantic field of view, we anticipate many different scientific opportunities. But we will also have to learn to expect the unexpected,”. Moreover, she says: “The mission will help answer critical questions in cosmology while potentially revealing brand new mysteries for us to solve.”


Published by: Sky Headlines

Approximately 10,000 years ago, the light produced by a massive star’s explosion in the constellation Vela reached Earth. As a result, the supernova formed a compact object known as a pulsar. However, It seems to illuminate periodically as it rotates, resembling a celestial lighthouse. The pulsar’s surface produces streams of particles that move near the speed of light. The particles generate an explosive mixture of charged particles and magnetic fields that collide with neighboring gas. Therefore, Astronomers refer to this event as a pulsar wind nebula.



Vela Pulsar Wind Nebula
Here, are image credits: X-ray: (IXPE) NASA/MSFC/Fei Xie & (Chandra) NASA/CXC/SAO; Optical: NASA/STScI Hubble/Chandra processing by Judy Schmidt; Hubble/Chandra/IXPE processing & compositing by NASA/CXC/SAO/Kimberly Arcand & Nancy Wolk

Here is the question,

How does NASA’s IXPE Uncover Pulsar Emissions?

IXPE is part of NASA’s Small Explorer mission lineup, launched aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida in December 2021. Currently, it orbits at an altitude of about 370 miles (595 kilometers) above Earth’s equator. The mission is a collaboration between NASA and the Italian Space Agency. Along with 13 countries contributing as partners and science collaborators. Ball Aerospace, headquartered in Broomfield, Colorado, manages spacecraft operations.

The recently captured picture shows a misty, light blue aura corresponding to Vela’s first-ever X-ray polarization data obtained from NASA’s Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE). A faint, indistinct blue line that extends towards the upper right-hand corner denotes a high-energy particle jet. As  it emanates from the pulsar at roughly half the speed of light. Scientists believe that the pinkish X-ray “arcs”  mark the borders of circular regions with a doughnut-like shape, where the pulsar wind produces shock waves and speeds up high-energy particles. One can identify the pulsar as the white circle at the image’s center.

images captured by NASA's IXPE
Vela Pulsar Wind Nebula images captured by NASA’s IXPE

Now, come to the point,

From where does IXPE gain Astrophysical Insights?

The NASA Chandra X-ray Observatory has observed Vela on multiple occasions, and the colors pink and purple represent its data. Meanwhile, the NASA Hubble Space Telescope captured the golden stars. By quantifying polarization, which pertains to the arrangement of electromagnetic waves, researchers can gain an unparalleled understanding.

Senior scientist at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, Phil Kaaret, says: “With IXPE, we are using extreme objects like Vela as a laboratory to investigate some of the most pressing questions in astrophysics. Such as how particles get catapulted to near the speed of light long after a star has exploded.”


Unprecedented Polarization in Vela Pulsar Wind Nebula X-rays:

The significant level of polarization took aback the scientists in the X-rays of the Vela pulsar wind nebula, as recent IXPE observations revealed. The astronomers reported findings in December in the journal Nature.

“This is the highest degree of polarization measured in a celestial X-ray source to date,” said professor Fei Xie of Guangxi University in Nanning, Guangxi, China, and a former postdoctoral researcher at Italy’s National Institute for Astrophysics/Institute of Space Astrophysics and Planetology (INAF/IAPS) in Rome, is the lead author of the Nature article.

When there is a lot of polarization, the electromagnetic fields are well-organized. They are all facing in the same direction, which depends on where they are in the nebula. Also, the X-rays that IXPE sees come from high-energy electrons spiraling in the magnetic fields of the pulsar wind nebula. This is called “synchrotron emission.” These magnetic fields must also be well organized when X-rays are highly polarized.

In contrast to supernova remnants that have a shell of material around them, the high polarization of the X-rays “suggests that the electrons were not sped up by the turbulent shocks that seem to be important in other X-ray sources,” said Roger W. Romani, a Stanford astrophysicist who helped analyze the IXPE data. Instead, there must be some other process, like magnetic reconnection, in which magnetic field lines are broken and put back together. That is one way that magnetic energy can be turned into particle energy.

So to get the point,

How IXPE Data Shows Vela Pulsar’s Magnetic Field Structure?

The analysis of IXPE data indicates that it has arranged the magnetic field surrounding the pulsar in a smooth, toroidal structure encircling its equator. It is consistent with what scientists anticipated.

Alessandro Di Marco is a researcher at Rome’s INAF/IAPS who helped analyze the data. He says: “This IXPE X-ray polarization measurement adds a missing piece of the Vela pulsar wind nebula puzzle.” Moreover, he says: “By mapping with unprecedented resolution, IXPE unveils the magnetic field in the central region, showing agreement with results obtained from radio images of the outer nebula.”

The Vela pulsar, situated approximately 1,000 light-years away from our planet, has a diameter of roughly 15 miles (25 kilometers) and completes 11 rotations every second, faster than a helicopter rotor’s speed.


Published by: Sky Headlines

The veteran rover captured a spectacular sunset at the beginning of a new cloud-imaging mission. NASA’s Curiosity rover captured exceptional Martian clouds and sunset last month. Martian sunsets are based on a particular gloom. As the Sun fell below the horizon on February 2, bright rays highlighted a cloud bank. These “sun beams” are crepuscular, Latin for “twilight.” This was Mars’ first intense sun ray observation.

The picture was photographed by Curiosity during the rover’s latest twilight cloud study, which expands on the 2021 observations of noctilucent, or night-shining, clouds. Most Martian clouds are water ice and float no higher than 60 kilometres (37 miles). But, the clouds depicted in the most recent photographs appear to be located at a higher altitude, where it is freezing. This indicates that these clouds are dry or carbon dioxide ice.

Like on Earth, clouds help scientists better understand complicated but essential information about the weather. Scientists can learn more about the Martian atmosphere’s composition, temperatures, and winds by observing when and where clouds form.

Compared to the previous surveys:

Compared to the 2021 cloud survey, which focused on capturing images of clouds using Curiosity’s black-and-white navigation cameras, the ongoing survey that began in January and will conclude in mid-March predominantly employs the rover’s color Mast Camera or Mastcam. Scientists can follow cloud particle growth and better comprehend cloud structure as they travel.

On January 27, in addition to capturing an image of sun rays, Curiosity captured a series of colorful clouds shaped like a feather. Some types of clouds, when hit by sunlight, produce a rainbow-like effect known as iridescence.

Martian clouds observed in stunning color
Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Mark Lemmon, Boulder’s Space Science Institute atmospheric scientist said: “Where we see iridescence, it means a cloud’s particle sizes are identical to their neighbors in each part of the cloud,” Moreover, he said: “By looking at color transitions, we’re seeing particle size changing across the cloud. That tells us about the way the cloud is evolving and how its particles are changing size over time.”

Curiosity sent Earth 28 images of sunbeams and colorful clouds. Edited photos emphasize highlights.


Published by: Sky Headlines

Seismic wave investigations have been used to study Earth’s structure and innermost inner core for decades. Earthquake shock waves are measured as they pass through the core. Scientists can determine denser places by measuring speed anisotropy. Moreover, these findings have led to the current geological model, which has four layers: a crust and mantle (mostly silicate minerals) and an outer core and inner core (nickel-iron).

RSES and ANU seismologists:

ANU seismologists say a recent study revealed Earth’s deepest inner core. The scientists discovered an “innermost inner core”—a solid metal ball—in Earth’s inner core in a Nature Communications study. These findings may illuminate Earth’s evolution and lead to five-layer geological models instead of four.

ANU Research School of Earth Sciences (RSES) postdoctoral fellow Thanh-Son Pham and Professor Hrvoje Tkalcic led the study. They stacked seismic wave data from 200 magnitude-6 or more significant earthquakes throughout the past decade. Seismic stations globally recorded the triggered waveforms, which went directly through the Earth’s center to the antipode before returning to the earthquake’s source.

Earth's Innermost Inner Core
Credit: Argonne National Labs

New Data Shows Earth’s Innermost Core Has Layers:

Anisotropy measurements of Earth’s inner core based on these waves’ travel times revealed previously-unrecorded data about Earth’s interior structure. This included the possible presence of a layered structure in the innermost part of the inner core. “The existence of an internal metallic ball within the inner core, the innermost inner core, was hypothesized about 20 years ago,” said Dr. Pham in an ANU press release. “We now provide another line of evidence to prove the hypothesis.”

Seismic waves show how iron atoms align at high temperatures and pressures or form crystals. The scientists observed that the bouncing seismic waves repeatedly investigated areas near the Earth’s center from different angles. By evaluating seismic travel timings, they extrapolated that the core’s innermost crystalized structure has an outside layer.

These discoveries may explain how waves speed up or slow down as they penetrate the innermost inner core. Dr. Pham:

“By developing a technique to boost the signals recorded by densely populated seismograph networks, we observed, for the first time, seismic waves that bounce back -and forth up to five times along the Earth’s diameter. Previous studies have documented only a single antipodal bounce. The findings are exciting because they provide a new way to probe the Earth’s inner core and its centermost region.”

Earth’s inner core and its centermost region

According to Professor Hrvoje Tkalcic:

One Alaska earthquake caused seismic waves that “bounced off” in the South Atlantic before returning to Alaska. The ANU team suggests a massive global event may have changed Earth’s inner core crystal structure. Hence, Prof. Tkalcic stated studying Earth’s deep interior could reveal its evolutionary history:

“This inner core is like a time capsule of Earth’s evolutionary history – it’s a fossilized record that serves as a gateway into the events of our planet’s past. Events that happened on Earth hundreds of millions to billions of years ago. There are still many unanswered questions about the Earth’s innermost inner core, which could hold the secrets to piecing together the mystery of our planet’s formation.”

On the Whole:

Lastly, seismic wave studies by ANU studies discovered Earth’s “innermost inner core,” a solid metal ball. Scientists discovered Earth’s internal structure by stacking seismic wave data from 200 magnitude-6 or more significant earthquakes during the past decade. These findings may also lead to five-layer geological models instead of four and explain how waves speed up or slow down when they penetrate the innermost core. The discovery may disclose Earth’s evolutionary history by probing its inner core and center.


Published by: Sky Headlines

On February 28, 2023, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) mission tweeted about its latest observation of a galaxy, which included three separate photos. The JWST’s capacity to capture such breathtaking imagery continuously amazes and captivates both scientists and space enthusiasts.

JWST captures Supernova in Gravitational Lens
Credit: ESA/Webb, NASA & CSA, P. Kelly

How does the JWST take three photographs of the same object at the same time?

This is done through gravitational lensing, when a large celestial body bends or twists light.  This happens most often around stars like our Sun, but it can also occur around extremely distant, enormous galaxies. The gravitational lens of RX J2129 bends and splits light from a supernova-hosting galaxy into three pictures.

As a result of the galaxy cluster RX J2129 distorting and bending its light, a supernova-containing galaxy appears in three distinct images. About 3,2 billion light-years from Earth is where you’ll find this cluster of galaxies. Because light had to travel different distances to generate each image, astronomers have determined that the images all seem different because of their different ages and characteristics.

Type IA supernova!

Astronomers say that the earliest photograph of the potential supernova, AT 2002riv is a Type IA supernova. Two similar lines on either side of it provide supporting evidence for this claim. When we took another picture of the faraway galaxy 320 and 1000 days later, we found that the supernova was no longer visible. The brightness of type IA supernovae is useful for determining huge cosmic distances.

The European Space Agency explains: “The almost uniform luminosity of a Type IA supernova could also allow astronomers to understand how strongly the galaxy cluster RX J2129 is magnifying background objects, and therefore how massive the galaxy cluster is,” It continues: “As well as distorting the images of background objects, gravitational lenses can cause distant objects to appear much brighter than they would otherwise. If the gravitational lens magnifies something with a known brightness, such as a Type IA supernova, then astronomers can use this to measure the ‘prescription’ of the gravitational lens.”

Gravitational Lens
Credit: NASA, ESA & L. Calcada

Gravitational lensing!

Gravitational lensing is when a massive celestial body’s gravitational force causes distant object’s light to appear bent or distorted from a specific angle. This creates a cosmic lens that enables astronomers to see objects located behind the massive object. As it passed through RX J2129. the light from a galaxy with a supernova bent and split into three images.

In 1979, gravitational lensing split light from a distant object, proving Einstein’s general relativity theory. Gravitational microlensing finds exoplanets, while this effect studies supernovae. In 1979, the JWST captured two quasars that had been gravitationally lensed.  JWST’s gravitational lensing will reveal how many supernovae and other insights it finds. This justifies the persistence of scientific investigation.


Published by: Sky Headlines

Jupiter, the fifth planet from the sun and the largest planet in our solar system, is known for its stunning stripes and swirls that are visible through telescopes. Jupiter is an amazing planet with lots of cool things to see, like its moons, rings, and a giant storm called the Great Red Spot. This massive storm has been raging on Jupiter for centuries and is one of the solar system’s most famous and recognizable features. This storm is huge, twice the size of Earth. The Great Red Spot of Jupiter has been observed since the 17th century, but scientists are still studying it to this day. Scientists have been studying the Great Red Spot to learn more about Jupiter and the solar system.

The Great Red Spot of Jupiter, a Strange Typhoon on the Gas Giant!

Knowing the significance of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot will be the theme of this article. We’ll also take a look at the ongoing studies and discoveries about this storm to see what we can pick up.

Now, buckle up as we launch out to explore the secrets of Jupiter’s Big Red Spot!

What is the Great Red Spot?

Jupiter is home to the Big Red Spot, a 400-year-old storm. This is a high-pressure region that has, for the most part, remained relatively steady over several centuries. It’s in Jupiter’s south. The storm may consume the world with a diameter of 10,250 miles.The Great Red Spot of Jupiter, a Strange Typhoon on the Gas Giant!

The reddish appearance of the storm is due to the presence of chemicals such as ammonia and methane in Jupiter’s atmosphere. These molecules produce a reddish color when they interact with sunlight and other gases in the atmosphere. It is this color that gives the storm its name.

Scientists have studied Jupiter’s Great Red Spot for centuries, but its formation and continuous existence remain a mystery. Experts speculate that the storm’s anticlockwise rotation is caused by Jupiter’s high wind speeds and the Coriolis force. This natural phenomenon makes a spinning object, like a storm, appear to move in a curved path due to the planet’s rotation.

Although Jupiter is home to many different storms, none of them are as prominent as the Great Red Spot. The scale and power of the storm are truly remarkable, making it one of the most intriguing features of our solar system. While other storms on Jupiter may be smaller and less intense, they are still fascinating to observe. However, none of them can compare to the Great Red Spot in terms of size and power.

Scientists are further exploring Jupiter’s Great Red Spot to gain insights into the planet’s atmosphere, weather patterns, and magnetic fields. Studying this massive storm system could provide valuable knowledge about the formation of gas giants like Jupiter and the origin of storms on other planets within our solar system and beyond.

Observing the Great Red Spot!

Astrophysicists on Earth have been checking up on the Great Red Spot since the 17th century, and it’s easy to see why. As time has progressed, the storm has evolved into a different shape, and its magnitude has decreased.

The Great Red Spot, a Strange Typhoon on the Gas Giant!

Since 2016, NASA’s Juno spacecraft has been orbiting Jupiter and collecting data. Thanks to Juno’s instruments, scientists have learned a great deal about the Great Red Spot. Juno has been able to penetrate the clouds and study the structure of the storm up close. The spacecraft has captured stunning close-up images of the Red Spot, revealing intricate cloud patterns and turbulence within the storm.

Juno’s studies have shown that the Red Spot of Jupiter is a high-pressure region in Jupiter’s atmosphere. The storm is surrounded by a ring of high-speed winds that help to keep it under control. The probe has observed clouds of ammonia and other gases that stretch to great depths within Jupiter’s atmosphere, confirming that the storm is quite deep.


The Future of the Great Red Spot!

For generations, astronomers and space enthusiasts have been amazed at Jupiter’s Big Red Spot. The storm is diminishing and its future is uncertain. Some experts believe the Great Red Spot will last for generations, while others think it will dissipate in a few decades.

Jupiter’s Big Red Spot, one of the solar system’s longest-lived storms, has raged for 358 years. Jupiter’s southern hemisphere has a two to three times Earth-sized storm. The planet’s tremendous winds and atmosphere give its a whirling, crimson look.

a Strange Typhoon on the Gas Giant!


Astronomers and scientists will study the Great Red Spot of Jupiter despite its uncertain destiny. The storm’s atmosphere, weather, and magnetic fields can help us understand gas giants like Jupiter’s evolution.

We may learn more about the Red Spot and Jupiter as technology improves. Telescopes and spacecraft are studying the storm, and new trips to Jupiter and its moons are being planned to learn more about this remarkable planet and its tremendous storm.


Published by: Sky Headlines

The JSWT is part of the Early Release Science program. And Webb’s conducted one of initial scientific observations by gazing at Messier 92 (M92). M92 is a globular cluster in the Milky Way halo, Which is approximately 27,000 light-years away. This occurred on June 20, 2022, and lasted for slightly over an hour. There are 13 ERS programs that assist astronomers in comprehending how to utilize Webb and leverage its scientific capabilities.

Matteo Correnti is from the Italian Space Agency. Alessandro Savino is from the University of California, Berkeley. Roger Cohen is from Rutgers University. Andy Dolphin is from Raytheon Technologies. They were interviewed to gather insights into Webb’s observations of M92. The team is utilizing the data to assist other astronomers. Kristen McQuinn had previously discussed her research on the dwarf galaxy WLM. The dwarf galaxy WLM is also included in this initiative. This conversation happened last November.

What is the purpose of ERS program?

Alessandro Savino:

The emphasis of this program is on studying resolved stellar populations. These are massive collections of stars such as M92 that are located near us, making it possible for Webb to isolate each star within the system. From a scientific perspective, these observations are highly captivating as they offer insights into the physics of stars and galaxies that can be gathered from entities situated much further away. It is through our study of our local cosmic environment that we gain much of our understanding of these distant objects.

Matteo Correnti:

We are also working towards enhancing our understanding of the telescope. This initiative has played a crucial role in refining the calibration process to ensure the highest level of measurement accuracy, which will benefit other astronomers and comparable projects by improving the quality of the data obtained.

Why did you decide to look at M92 in particular?


M92 and other globular clusters hold great significance in comprehending the process of stellar evolution. For many years, they have been serving as a vital standard for comprehending the workings and development of stars. M92, a prime example of a globular cluster, is near us and is well-understood, making it a crucial reference point in studies of stellar systems and their evolution.


M92 holds significant importance due to its status as one of the Milky Way’s oldest globular clusters, potentially even being the oldest. With an estimated age of 12 to 13 billion years, M92 hosts some of the most ancient stars that can be observed and analyzed. These nearby clusters serve as valuable indicators of the early universe, aiding in our understanding of its origins.

Roger Cohen:

One of the reasons why we selected M92 is due to its high density, where numerous stars are tightly packed together. The core of the cluster is thousands of times denser compared to the region surrounding the Sun. Studying M92 will enable us to evaluate the performance of Webb in this specific regime, where we need to measure stars that are in very close proximity to each other.

Characteristics of a globular – studying stars’ evolution!

Andy Dolphin:

A key feature of M92 is that the majority of its stars likely originated from a single period of formation and with similar elemental compositions, yet they exhibit a diverse range of masses. This provides an excellent opportunity to study this specific cohort of stars in depth.


Furthermore, as all the stars are part of the same entity, namely the globular cluster M92, it is evident that they are all at approximately the same distance from us. This fact is quite useful because it implies that any variations in brightness amongst the stars are most likely due to inherent characteristics, rather than just being influenced by their respective distances. Consequently, it simplifies the process of comparing the stars with models to a significant extent.

Hubble Space Telescope Vs Webb!


Webb and Hubble Telescope differ significantly in terms of their wavelength range. Webb is capable of operating at longer wavelengths, where the majority of light emission comes from cool, low-mass stars. This makes Webb particularly applicable for observing such stars. Webb is capable of detecting stars with masses less than 0.1 times that of the Sun, which is intriguing because this is close to the point where stars cease to exist as stars. Beyond this boundary lies brown dwarfs, which are too low-mass to generate hydrogen ignition in their cores.


In comparison to Hubble Webb offers a significant increase in speed. To observe the extremely faint low-mass stars using Hubble,

It needs hundreds of hours of telescope time, whereas, with Webb, it only takes a few hours.


The purpose of these observations was not to test the full capabilities of the telescope, yet it is reassuring to find that we were able to detect dim and tiny stars without exerting excessive effort.

Facts about the low-mass stars!


To begin with, they constitute the largest population of stars in the entire universe. Secondly, they hold significant theoretical interest due to the challenges in observing and characterizing them, particularly those with a mass of less than half that of the Sun, where our comprehension of stellar models remains somewhat uncertain.


By examining the light that low-mass stars emit, we can enhance our ability to determine the age of the globular cluster. This knowledge, in turn, can provide us with a deeper understanding of the formation of various components of the Milky Way, such as the halo where M92 is situated. These insights into cosmic history can have far-reaching implications.

The Chip gap:

The utilization of Webb’s Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) helps in the creation of this image. NIRCam consists of two modules and the “chip gap” separates it. The central area of the cluster is both densely populated and exceptionally luminous, which restricted the applicability of the data gathered from that zone. However, the positioning of these images aligns well with the Hubble data that is already accessible.

JWST Discovers Sparkling Globular Cluster with Separate Stars
Image credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, A. Pagan (STScI).


Published by: Sky Headlines