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James Webb captures a ‘jeweled’ image of a dwarf galaxy

James Webb captures a 'jeweled' image of a dwarf galaxy
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The James Webb Space Telescope has captured a remarkably detailed image of a nearby dwarf galaxy. The near-infrared view reveals the deepest view yet of a stellar panorama, which could provide astronomers with an ideal tool for studying aspects of the early Universe.

The image shows a multitude of stars in a lonely dwarf galaxy named Wolf – Lundmark – Melottewhich lies about 3 million light-years from our home galaxy, the Milky Way, and is about a tenth the size.

The WLM galaxy is intriguing to astronomers because it has remained largely isolated and has a chemical composition similar to galaxies in the early Universe OUR.

Launched in December 2021, the Webb Telescope is the most powerful space observatory to date. It is able to detect the faint light of impossibly distant galaxies when they glow in infrared light, a wavelength invisible to the human eye.

The Hubble Space Telescope and the now defunct Spitzer Space Telescope have imaged the WLM galaxy, but Webb used his near-infrared camera, aka NIRCamto capture it in unprecedented detail.

“We can see myriads of individual stars of different colors, sizes, temperatures, ages, and evolutionary stages; interesting nebula gas clouds within the galaxy; foreground stars with Webb’s diffractive peaks; and background galaxies with nice features like tide trails,” said Kristen McQuinn, assistant professor in the department of physics and astronomy at Rutgers University in Piscataway, New Jersey. in a comment posted on NASAs website. A tidal tail is a thin “tail” of stars and interstellar gas that extends from a galaxy.

“It’s really a beautiful image,” added McQuinn, who is one of the principal scientists at the Webb Early Release Science Program.

On Twitter, NASA’s official Webb Telescope account explained that Webb’s NIRCam image “makes the whole place shimmer” compared to previous space observatory images — a nod to the song “Bejeweled.” Taylor Swift’s new album Midnights.

Some of the stars pictured in this latest Webb image are low-mass stars that formed in the early Universe and can survive for billions of years, McQuinn noted on NASA’s website.

“By determining the properties of these low-mass stars (like their age), we can gain insight into what happened in the very distant past,” she said.

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