Stunning JWST photo turns distant Galaxy into sparkling Christmas decoration

(ORDO NEWS) — The James Webb Space Telescope has just captured a 230 million light-year-old spiral galaxy in a glittering new Christmas tree-worthy glamor shot.

Although the galaxy goes by the rather unglamorous name NGC 7469, it was a fascinating object to study.

JWST looked into NGC 7469 as part of a study to understand star formation, the growth of supermassive black holes, and how galaxies gravitationally interact and merge in space. huge gaps in space and time.

NGC 7469 is also quite special. It has elegant, beautiful spiral arms that we can see all the way through thanks to a quirk of orientation: the plane of the galactic plane faces us almost directly, giving us a stunning view of the structure of the galaxy.

The galaxy also has a very bright center, especially when it comes to infrared radiation.

This is because the supermassive black hole around which the entire galaxy orbits is active: it is surrounded by falling material or accretion onto the black hole, a process that generates a lot of light as gravity and friction heat up the material, causing it to glow.

About 1,500 light-years from the galactic center of NGC 7469 lies another bright ring showing a violent star-forming activity known as star formation.

Because we can see the galaxy so clearly, scientists can study it to better understand the relationship between the star forming ring and the active galactic nucleus.

Like the core of a galaxy, star forming rings glow brightly in the infrared, a wavelength range in which the JWST views the universe in such breathtaking detail.

His observations of galaxies such as NGC 7469 are expected to provide unprecedented insight into these processes and how they are connected.

Scientists have already discovered new star formation clusters and direct evidence that dust is collapsing very close to the galaxy. galactic core – shows that activity is affecting the galaxy around it.

They also found that highly ionized diffuse atomic gas is ejected from the galactic center at about 6.4 million kilometers (4 million miles) per hour.

The shocks from this wind, a recently discovered paper in a preprint, do not affect the star formation ring.

Stunning JWST Photo Turns Distant Galaxy Into Sparkling Christmas Decoration
Hubble image of Arp 298 taken in 2008

Another galaxy is located near the lower left corner of the JWST image. This is IC 5283 and it is locked in a gravitational dance with NGC 7469.

Together the two galaxies are known as Arp 298.

You can see enhanced bright red regions on the edge of NGC 7469 closest to IC 5283; this is likely due to the larger galaxy absorbing nourishing star-forming gas from its smaller companion.

The burst of star formation, and possibly even the activity of the galactic core in NGC 7469, is thought to be the result of an interaction between the two galaxies.

The large six-pointed feature that dominates the image is JWST’s diffractive bursts, an artifact created by the telescope’s physical structure.

So it’s not really real… but it looks pretty.


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