The James Webb Space Telescope has captured mysterious concentric rings around the distant star WR 140.
Citizen scientist Judy Schmidt posted a photo of the star with ripple-like circles around it on Twitter, but there is no consensus among scientists on what these ripples are just yet.
In a comment for Space.com, the scientist suggested that this is a natural phenomenon:
"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 said.
WR140, located about 5,600 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Cygnus, is a so-called variable star that regularly dims and brightens. Astronomers believe that the star released most of the hydrogen into space at some point in its existence. In addition, it is surrounded by dust, which the companion star "sculpts" into strange shells.
Astronomer at NOIRLab and principal investigator of the project Ryan Lau confirmed that these rings are real, not an optical illusion. He promised that scientists would soon publish a full research paper explaining this phenomenon.