The Webb telescope's image of the Cartwheel Galaxy, which was once shrouded in mystery due to dust Photo: NASA/AFP
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Webb telescope captures colorful Cartwheel Galaxy

14 Comments

The James Webb Space Telescope has peered through time and huge amounts of dust to capture a new image of the Cartwheel Galaxy, revealing the spinning ring of color in unprecedented clarity, NASA and the European Space Agency said Tuesday.

Located around 500 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Sculptor, the Cartwheel gained its shape during a spectacular head-on collision between two galaxies.

The impact sent two rings expanding from the galaxy's centre, "like ripples in a pond after a stone is tossed into it", NASA and the ESA said in a joint statement.

A smaller white ring remains closer to the galaxy's centre, while the outer ring, with its spokes of color, has been expanding into the universe for around 440 million years, the statement added.

As the outer ring expands it runs into gas, sparking the formation of new stars.

The Hubble telescope had previously captured images of the rare ring galaxy, which is believed to have been a spiral galaxy like our own Milky Way before it was hit by a smaller intruder galaxy.

But the Webb telescope, which launched in December 2021 and revealed its first images to global fanfare last month, has a far greater reach.

Webb's ability to detect infrared light allowed it to see through the "tremendous amount of hot dust" obscuring the view of the Cartwheel Galaxy, NASA and the ESA said.

This revealed new details about star formation in the galaxy, as well as the behavior of the supermassive black hole at its heart, they said.

It was also able to detect regions rich in hydrocarbons and other chemicals, as well as dust that is similar to dust on Earth.

Behind the Cartwheel, two smaller galaxies shine brightly, while even more galaxies can be seen behind them.

The observations show that the Cartwheel Galaxy is still in "very transitory stage", the space agencies said.

"While Webb gives us a snapshot of the current state of the Cartwheel, it also provides insight into what happened to this galaxy in the past and how it will evolve in the future."

© 2022 AFP

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

14 Comments
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Out of this world amazing!!!

The vastness and scope of the universe is beyond my understanding.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Yes, beautiful and amazing, like a painting of Monet too. But it’s finally of no use and only causing massive costs. That big amount of money for ‘space exploration’ is better spent on all those real problems on our planet.

-14 ( +2 / -16 )

Of no use to who? Scientists are using it to better understand the history of the universe! Isn't that something worth knowing about?

Yes, beautiful and amazing, like a painting of Monet too. But it’s finally of no use and only causing massive costs. That big amount of money for ‘space exploration’ is better spent on all those real problems on our planet.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Compare that photo to the one of the sanshakudama at the Gamagori Fireworks Festival in today's issue. Both are gorgeous. No complaints here.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Sven AsaiToday  05:42 pm JST

Yes, beautiful and amazing, like a painting of Monet too. But it’s finally of no use and only causing massive costs. That big amount of money for ‘space exploration’ is better spent on all those real problems on our planet.

There's plenty of funding money out there and it's being used for far, far more frivolous things than space exploration. It's very possible that what we learn from space exploration can be used to address serious problems on earth as well.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

This is just jaw-dropping.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The last line of the story is absurd. Current state? We are seeing the state of the galaxy 500 million years ago.

"While Webb gives us a snapshot of the current state of the Cartwheel, it also provides insight into what happened to this galaxy in the past and how it will evolve in the future."

Still, it's a stunning revelation of the beauty of the Universe.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Amazing and humbling. Reminds us or how petty and delusional us humans are? How can people still believe in religion if they see this and then just think a little? We are only a speck of irrelevant dust to the unplanned, uncontrollable universe. The only thing humans can do to alter it, nowadays especially, is to destroy our own entire planet. And if we do, the universe will pay no attention, it will just go on without us.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Five hundred million years from now, we’ll be able to see attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion and the Tannhäuser Gate’s glittering C beams.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=7&v=NoAzpa1x7jU&feature=emb_logo

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Scientists are using it to better understand the history of the universe! Isn't that something worth knowing about?

Exactly that, it’s of no measurable use, isn’t worth anything and also is not even possible knowing about. The money and resources have all to be used instead to solve problems here and now, on this planet, for our and future generations.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

This is an infrared image, longer wavelengths than our eyes can see, so it doesn’t look like that to the naked eye. But still amazing.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Thanks for destroying the spell.Next you’ll be telling me there’s no Santa Claus.(smiley face).

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Thanks for destroying the spell.Next you’ll be telling me there’s no Santa Claus

It's a farce for simple minds, pathetic Santa never existed..

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Stunning, beautiful and fascinating. We live in an amazing age, able to discover and understand things our ancestors couldn’t even dream of.

And still there are people who only want to naval gaze and inspect the fluff, incapable of grasping that as a species we have the breadth of intellect and capacity to look out and fathom the infinite wonders of the universe while also seeking to improve our own spec of dust.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

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