James Webb Telescope Captures Stunning Images of Chaotic Cartwheel Galaxy


The most powerful telescope ever made has beamed back images of a cosmic wonder happening roughly 500 million light years away from us. James Webb Space Telescope, which revealed its first ever set of images last month, has delivered another picture from deep space. Gazing through the telescope has given details about star formation and galaxy dust of the Cartwheel galaxy. Located in the Sculptor constellation, the Cartwheel galaxy is a rare sight as it sports two rings. The first, a smaller ring that is extremely bright and the second, a larger ring, which is surrounding the first one.

The inner ring contains a “tremendous amount of hot dust and is home to clusters of young stars, whereas the outer ring contains supernovas and fosters star formation. The outer ring, as per NASA’s statement, is expanding and has, as of now, expanded for about 440 million years.

The image is the result of the Near-infrared Camera (NIRCam), which is the primary imager and the Mid-infrared Instrument (MIRI). The NIRCam helps the James Webb Space Telescope see crucial wavelengths of light. This allows the telescope to see even more stars than what can be observed in visible light.

The MIRI studies the finer dust that inhabits the galaxy and reveals that the Cartwheel galaxy is rich in hydrocarbons and other compounds like silicate dust, much like the dust on Earth.

NASA shared the image on Twitter and in the caption, wrote, “Webb uniquely offers not just a snapshot of the galaxy’s current state but also a peek into the past and the future.” Take a look:

The James Webb telescope reveals the Cartwheel galaxy, alongside two smaller galaxies in the backdrop. The shape of the galaxy – featuring one ring encircling another – is the result of an intense head-on collision between two galaxies varying in sizes. This collision affected the Cartwheel galaxy’s shape and structure. The James Webb Space Telescope clearly highlights that the galaxy is in a transitory stage and will keep transforming.

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