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Writer Fuel: James Web Telescope Captures Confounding Image of Star Ripples

star ripples - NAS - James Webb telescope

The James Webb Space Telescope captured mysterious concentric rings around a distant star that astronomers are still working to explain.

The image, taken in July, was released on Twitter (opens in new tab) by citizen scientist Judy Schmidt, prompting a torrent of comments and head-scratching. It shows a star (opens in new tab) known as WR140 surrounded by regular ripple-like circles that gradually fade away. The circles, however, are not perfectly round, but have a somewhat square-like feel to them, prompting speculations about possible alien origins.

“I think it’s just nature doing something that is simple, but when we look at it from only one viewpoint it seems impossible, at first, to understand that it is a natural phenomenon,” Schmidt told in an email. “Why is it shaped the way it is? Why is it so regular?”

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