(ORDO NEWS) — Stop doing what you are doing. The latest official image from the James Webb Space Telescope has been released and it’s a stunning circus of fireworks illuminating the darkness of space.
The subject is the Cartwheel Galaxy, a known object with an age of about 500 million people. light-years away, and there is a huge oddity: unlike most other galaxies, which tend to be relatively cohesive, it has several separate, separated structures, the appearance of which gives the unusual object its name.
Like a Cartwheel or Ferris wheel, the galaxy has a distinct outer ring filled with light, a much thinner region within it, and a bright “center” – a center that is halfway between a blurry, featureless elliptical galaxy and a structured spiral.
Previous analyzes have shown that this peculiar, extremely complex structure is likely the result of a strong interaction with another smaller galaxy: a collision.
This is the source of the large ring, scientists believe, as well as the smaller, less well-defined ring that can be seen around the galactic center.
When galaxies interact, the results are cosmic.
Not only are the galaxies in question pulling apart in interesting ways, but the resulting jolts in the interstellar gas can also trigger intense waves of star formation as the gas compresses, causing the massive clumps to collapse under their own gravity to form the seeds of young stars.
This activity, most visible in the infrared, where Webb sees the universe, is intense in the Cartwheel Galaxy.
The outer ring is exploding with star formation and supernova activity as the ring expands into the gas of the intergalactic medium.
The inner center of the galaxy was also busy, filled with clusters of young, hot, massive stars.
But the Cartwheel Galaxy is very dusty, making it difficult to penetrate at certain wavelengths, namely optical wavelengths, at which Hubble excels.
Webb’s infrared and near-infrared capabilities and stunning resolution have allowed it to cut through much of this dust, revealing never-before-seen details in the Cartwheel galaxy.”
In the image above, the primary near-infrared instrument, NIRcam, has revealed blue-tinted star formation foci, as well as orange and yellow regions of older stars and dust.
The red areas in the image come from an instrument called MIRI, which displays mid-infrared. They show the galactic dust that makes up the “spokes” of the cartwheel, primarily silicate dust and hydrocarbons.
Further analysis of this data is expected to reveal more about this stunning galaxy and its crazy evolution.
Three more galaxies can be seen in these images; Together these four galaxies are known as the Cartwheel Group. None of these galaxies is the one Cartwheel collided with about 440 million years ago, although they do show evidence of intense interactions among themselves.
The irregular spiral in the upper left appears to have been broken at some point; it also showcases fireworks. The neater spiral just below it, however, has a faint tidal tail, a long stream of material pulled out by gravitational interaction with a massive object.
In fact, it’s much less common in the galaxy, not in the distant past, he had a fight. Just ask our Milky Way.
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