and its partners have shared more spectacular images from the observatory. This time, they offered a new look at the Cartwheel Galaxy previously observed by Hubble and other telescopes. JWST has unveiled new details about both star formation and the black hole at the center of the galaxy, some 500 million light-years from Earth.
Using infrared light detection, JWST was able to peer through the dust that was obscuring the Cartwheel Galaxy from view when other telescopes observed it. The image above is a composite of JWST’s Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) and Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI). The JWST website has higher resolution versions.
Data from NIRCam, the JWST’s primary imager, is colored blue, orange and yellow, while data from MIRI is red. NASA says the blue dots appearing in the red swirls of dust are individual stars or pockets of star formation. “NIRCam also shows the difference between the smooth distribution or shape of the older stellar populations and the dense dust in the core compared to the clumpy shapes associated with the younger stellar populations outside it,” the agency noted.
Meanwhile, MIRI was able to unearth more details about the galaxy’s dust. It discovered regions rich in hydrocarbons and other chemical compounds, along with silicate dust similar to much of the dust found on Earth. These regions form multiple spiral spokes that led to the naming of the Cartwheel Galaxy. Hubble was previously able to image the spokes, but they are much clearer in the JWST observations. NASA also provided a MIRI-only image of the galaxy:
The Cartwheel Galaxy was formed after a collision between a large spiral galaxy and a smaller one. It has two rings, a bright inner ring and a colorful outer ring. The outer ring has been expanding from the collision center for about 440 million years.
The inner ring contains “an enormous amount of hot dust,” NASA said. The brightest areas host huge young star clusters. Meanwhile, the outer ring shows star formation and supernovae. When it expands and meets surrounding gas, star formation occurs.
NASA, the European Space Agency, the Canadian Space Agency and the Space Telescope Science Institute last month. These included one showing the “cosmic cliffs” of the Carina Nebula and a glimpse of stars in the early stages of formation. The telescope also spotted Earendel, the most distant star we know of in the universe. Although JWST’s scientific activities are still very early days, it’s already helping scientists develop a deeper understanding of the cosmos — and producing some incredible images for the rest of us to admire.
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https://www.engadget.com/nasa-james-webb-space-telescope-cartwheel-galaxy-164218343.html?src=rss James Webb Space Telescope depicts Cartwheel Galaxy in stunning detail