James Webb Telescope Offers a View of the Cartwheel Galaxy – IGN

James Webb Telescope Offers a View of the Cartwheel Galaxy - IGN

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has captured a stunning image of the Cartwheel Galaxy, revealing new details about its formation, shape and structure.

The image released by NASA on Tuesday shows the Cartwheel galaxy in never-before-seen detail. The large pink, mottled galaxy that resembles a wagon wheel is pictured in a “very transient stage” alongside two companion spiral galaxies, located about 500 million light-years away from Earth in the Sculptor constellation in the southern sky.

Image credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI.

This cosmic snapshot provides a new look at how the Cartwheel Galaxy has changed over billions of years and how it is likely to evolve in the future. The shape and structure of the Cartwheel Galaxy show that it was created as a result of an intergalactic collision “between a large spiral galaxy and a smaller galaxy,” which is not visible in the image, the researchers say.

The galaxy’s striking shape consists of a colorful outer ring and a bright inner ring with bright spiraling rays. NASA explains that these rings are expanding outward from the center of the collision “like ripples in a pond after a stone is thrown into it.” These distinctive features have led astronomers to categorize the Cartwheel Galaxy as a “ring galaxy,” making it much rarer.

According to NASA, the galaxy’s bright core “contains an enormous amount of hot dust, and the brightest areas are home to gigantic clusters of young stars.” “On the other hand, the outer ring, which has been expanding for about 440 million years, is dominated by star formation and supernovae. As this ring expands, it goes into the surrounding gas and triggers star formation.”

Images from the James Webb Space Telescope

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