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The James Webb Space Telescope captures the Cartwheel Galaxy in stunning hues

The James Webb Space Telescope captures the Cartwheel Galaxy in stunning hues
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A new Image from the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) unveils the Cartwheel Galaxy in stunning detail.

The image, NASA said, offers new details about star formation and the galaxy’s central black hole.

Pictured alongside two smaller companion galaxies, the Cartwheel Galaxy is about 500 million light-years away in the constellation Sculptor.

Its cartwheel-like appearance is the result of a collision between a large spiral galaxy and a smaller galaxy, not shown.

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Astronomers call this a “ring galaxy” because of the colorful inner and outer rings expanding from the center.

At the core: hot dust and star clusters.

The outer ring has been expanding for 440 million years and is dominated by star formation and supernovae.

A large pink mottled wheel-like galaxy with a small inner oval with dusty blue in between on the right, with two smaller spiral galaxies of about equal size on the left against a black background.

A large pink mottled wheel-like galaxy with a small inner oval with dusty blue in between on the right, with two smaller spiral galaxies of about equal size on the left against a black background.
(Image credits: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI)

The Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) imager sees in the near-infrared range from 0.6 to 5 microns.

It sees wavelengths of light that can reveal even more stars.

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While the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) looked at the cartwheel earlier, dust obscured his view.

This image from Webb's Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) shows a cluster of galaxies, including a large distorted annular galaxy known as Cartwheel.

This image from Webb’s Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) shows a cluster of galaxies, including a large distorted annular galaxy known as Cartwheel.
(Credits: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, Webb ERO Production Team)

“NIRCam also shows the difference between the smooth distribution or shape of the older stellar populations and dense dust in the core compared to the clumpy shapes associated with the younger stellar populations outside of it,” the agency said in a press release accompanying the image.

The Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) reveals it Regions in the Cartwheel Galaxy which form the spiral spokes much more prominently.

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What appear to be rugged mountains on a moonlit evening are actually the rim of a nearby young star-forming region, NGC 3324, in the Carina Nebula.

What appear to be rugged mountains on a moonlit evening are actually the rim of a nearby young star-forming region, NGC 3324, in the Carina Nebula.
(Image: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI)

“Webb’s observations underline that the cartwheel is in a very transitional state. The galaxy, which before its collision was believed to be a normal spiral galaxy like the Milky Way, will continue to change,” NASA said. “While Webb gives us a snapshot of the current state of the cartwheel, it also gives insight into what has happened to this galaxy in the past and how it will evolve in the future.”

The first images from the International Observatory, including the wondrous cosmic cliffs of the Carina Nebula, were released last month.

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