NASA's James Webb telescope captures new images of galaxies; one of them resembles a cartwheel

The James Webb Space Telescope shared stunning images of four galaxies

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Wednesday, October 05, 2022, 07:00 PM IST
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Representative image | NASA

Again, NASA has shared stunning images from the James Webb telescope. The images were a combination of the power of the Webb telescope and another NASA flagship mission, the Chandra X-ray observatory. They were both designed and manufactured by Northrop Grumman Corporation.

NASA shared the first images on October 4th of Chandra X-ray versions of Webb. These include Webb’s galaxy cluster SMACS 0723, Stephan’s Quintet, a star cluster in the Carina Nebula, and the Cartwheel galaxy.
 
The Chandra X-ray Observatory used its very efficient, designed sensietive telescope to capture images, an imaging spectrometer, a high-resolution camera; and associated devices to detect X-ray emissions from very hot regions of the universe, such as exploding stars, clusters of galaxies, and dark matter.

The first image is of Stephan's Quintet; its gravity is performing a complex dance with the four galaxies. According to Chandra data (light blue), one of the galaxies in this system is passing through the others at a speed of around 2 million miles per hour, creating a shock wave that heats gas to tens of millions of degrees. Infrared information from NASA's now-retired Spitzer Space Telescope is also included in this new composite (red, green, and blue).

The second image is of the Cartwheel Galaxy. A smaller galaxy outside the image's field collided with the Cartwheel galaxy, giving rise to the latter's distinctive shape. The star formation that can be seen around an outer ring and elsewhere in the galaxy was sparked when this smaller galaxy pierced through the cartwheel. The Cartwheel galaxy and two smaller companion galaxies that were not involved in the collision are seen in Webb's infrared vision.

The third image is of SMACS 0723.3-7327 , the galaxy cluster which is around 4.2 billion light-years away. The Chandra measurements (blue) in this image show gas with temperatures of tens of millions of degrees and a total mass that is many times more than the mass of all the galaxies in the cluster—roughly 100 trillion times that of the Sun. An even greater portion of the cluster's entire mass is invisible dark matter.

The fourth image is of the Cosmic Cliffs of the Carina Nebula, or NGC 3324 (pink). Chandra's data shows more than a dozen distinct X-ray sources. These are predominantly young stars, aged between one and two million years, that are found in the outer portion of a star cluster in the Carina Nebula. X-ray studies are the best technique to distinguish stars in the Carina Nebula from the numerous stars of various ages from our Milky Way galaxy that are in our line of sight to the nebula because young stars are significantly brighter in X-rays than ancient stars.

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