The bright star at the center of NGC 3132, while prominent when viewed by NASA’s Webb Telescope in near-infrared light, plays a supporting role in sculpting the surrounding nebula. A second star, barely visible at lower left along one of the bright star’s diffraction spikes, is the nebula’s source. It has ejected at least eight layers of gas and dust over thousands of years.
But the bright central star visible here has helped “stir” the pot, changing the shape of this planetary nebula’s highly intricate rings by creating turbulence. The pair of stars are locked in a tight orbit, which leads the dimmer star to spray ejected material in a range of directions as they orbit one another, resulting in these jagged rings.