The US space agency NASA, along with the Canadian and European space agencies, this Tuesday (2) released another unprecedented record set by the James Webb superspace telescope.
The image shows a galaxy about 500 million light-years away from our planet, called “Car Wheel” because of its resemblance to this structure. To the left of this system, two small spiral galaxies are also visible.
According to NASA, the “cartwheel” may have been a spiral galaxy (like our Milky Way) before it collided with a smaller galaxy more than 400 million years ago, and it was precisely this collision that led to this distinctive formation.
“This system now consists of two rings – a bright inner ring and a surrounding colored ring. Both extend outward from the center like ripples on a lake,” the space agency said in a statement.
Other telescopes, including the famous Hubble telescopes, have spotted the Cartwheel Galaxy (as it is called in English), but because a huge amount of dust obscures the view of this system of visible-light telescopes, some structures cannot be seen until then.
With this new Webb infrared observation – a method that overcomes this dust barrier – individual stars as well as these star formation regions within the galaxy can be easily seen.
Moreover, with the newly released data, scientists can better understand the behavior of the black hole in the center of the “wheel of the car” (although the black hole itself is not visible in the image).
Another image of the Car Wheel Galaxy taken by Webb at a frequency other than infrared. – Photo: NASA/ESA/CSA/STScI/Disclosure
“These new details provide us with a renewed understanding of a galaxy in the midst of a slow transformation,” said the European Space Agency (ESA), which is also part of the international consortium that took James Webb into space.
According to NASA, other records of the universe will be released by the super telescope in the coming weeks.
(video: See how super telescope structures work.)
See the structures of the James Webb Telescope
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