He’s been running scientific operations for less than a month, but NASAJames Webb again impresses with his view of the universe.
Super Space Telescope now peered into the chaos of the Cartwheel galaxy, revealing new details about star formation and the galaxy’s central black hole.
Its powerful infrared radiation gave a detailed image of the Cartwheel and two smaller companion galaxies against the backdrop of many other galaxies.
The Cartwheel Galaxy, located about 500 million light-years away in the constellation Sculptor, is a rare sight.
Its appearance, much like that of a wagon wheel, is the result of an intense high-speed collision event between a large spiral galaxy and a smaller galaxy not visible in this image.
Other telescopes, including the Hubble Space Telescope, have previously explored the cartwheel.
But the dramatic galaxy has been shrouded in mystery — perhaps literally, given the amount of dust obscuring the view.
Fireworks: The James Webb Space Telescope again impresses with its view of the universe. He peered into the chaos of the Cartwheel galaxy (pictured), revealing new details about star formation and the galaxy’s central black hole.
This image, taken by the Webb Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI), shows a group of galaxies, including a large, curved, ring-shaped galaxy known as the Cartwheel.
INSTRUMENTS ON THE JAMES WEBB TELESCOPE
NIRKam (near infrared camera) thermal imager from the edge of the visible to the near infrared.
NIRSpets (near infrared spectrograph) will also perform spectroscopy in the same wavelength range.
MIRI (Mid-InfraRed Instrument) will measure the mid to long infrared wavelength range from 5 to 27 micrometers.
FGS/NIRISS (fine pointing sensor, near infrared imager and slitless spectrograph) is used to stabilize the line of sight of the observatory during scientific observations.
Webb, with his ability to detect infrared light, is now opening up new insights into the nature of the cartwheel.
The Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam), Webb’s primary imager, looks in the near infrared from 0.6 to 5 microns, observing critical wavelengths of light that can reveal even more stars than are seen in visible light.
This is because young stars, many of which form in the outer ring, are less visible due to the presence of dust when observed in infrared light. In this image, the NIRCam data is colored in blue, orange, and yellow.
There are many individual blue dots in the galaxy, which are individual stars or foci of star formation.
NIRCam also shows the difference between the smooth distribution or shape of older stellar populations and dense core dust, compared to the clumpy forms associated with younger stellar populations outside the core.
The $10bn (£7.4bn) observatory image also provides new insight into how the Cartwheel Galaxy has changed over billions of years.
Collisions on a galactic scale cause a cascade of different, smaller events between the galaxies involved; The cart is no exception.
The collision most markedly affected the shape and structure of the galaxy.
The Cartwheel Galaxy has two rings – a bright inner ring and a colorful surrounding ring. These rings expand outward from the center of impact, like ripples in a pond after a stone is thrown into it.
Because of these distinctive features, astronomers refer to it as a “ring galaxy” whose structure is less common than spiral galaxies such as our own Milky Way.
The bright core contains huge amounts of hot dust, and the brightest regions contain gigantic young star clusters.
On the other hand, the outer ring, which has been expanding over about 440 million years, is dominated by star formation and supernovae. As this ring expands, it crashes into the surrounding gas and causes star formation.
Webb’s infrared capabilities allow him to “look back” to the Big Bang, which happened 13.8 billion years ago. Light waves travel very fast, about 186,000 miles (300,000 km) per second every second. The farther away the object, the farther in time we look. This is due to the fact that light takes time to get from the object to us.
However, to study finer details about the dust that inhabits the galaxy, the Webb Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) is required.
The MIRI data is colored red in this composite image, showing regions within the Cartwheel Galaxy rich in hydrocarbons and other chemical compounds, as well as silicate dust, like most dust on Earth.
These regions form a series of spiral spokes that essentially form the skeleton of the galaxy.
The $10 billion (£7.4 billion) observatory (pictured) has provided new insight into how the Cartwheel Galaxy has changed over billions of years.
The spokes are evident in previous Hubble observations published in 2018, but they become much more visible in this Webb image.
While Webb gives us a snapshot of the current state of the cartwheel, it also gives us an idea of what happened to this galaxy in the past and how it will evolve in the future.
Last month, the world was first shown dazzling, unprecedented images of a “stellar nursery,” a dying star shrouded in dust, and a “cosmic dance” between a group of galaxies.
It ended months of anticipation and feverish anticipation as people around the world saw the first batch of a treasure trove of images culminating in the earliest look at the dawn of the universe.
Webb’s infrared capabilities mean it can “see into the past” to within 100 to 200 million years after the Big Bang, allowing it to capture images of the very first stars that shone in the universe over 13.5 billion years ago.
His first images of nebulae, exoplanets and clusters of galaxies caused a huge celebration in the scientific world, which was hailed as “a great day for mankind.”
Researchers will soon begin to learn more about the masses, ages, history and composition of galaxies as Webb aims to explore the earliest galaxies in the universe.
James Webb Telescope: NASA’s $10 billion telescope is designed to detect light from the earliest stars and galaxies.
The James Webb Telescope is called a “time machine” that can help unravel the mysteries of our universe.
The telescope will be used to look back at the first galaxies born in the early universe more than 13.5 billion years ago and observe the sources of stars, exoplanets and even our solar system’s moons and planets.
Already worth over $7 billion (£5 billion), the Fast Telescope is said to be the successor to the Hubble Orbiting Space Telescope.
The James Webb telescope and most of his instruments have an operating temperature of approximately 40 Kelvin – about minus 387 Fahrenheit (minus 233 Celsius).
It is the world’s largest and most powerful orbiting space telescope, capable of seeing 100-200 million years ago after the Big Bang.
The Orbital Infrared Observatory is designed to be about 100 times more powerful than its predecessor, the Hubble Space Telescope.
NASA prefers to think of James Webb as Hubble’s successor rather than his replacement, as the two will work in tandem for a while.
The Hubble Telescope was launched on April 24, 1990 by the Space Shuttle Discovery from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
It orbits the Earth at about 17,000 miles per hour (27,300 km per hour) in low Earth orbit at an altitude of about 340 miles.