The galaxy is called cartwheel Because of its striking resemblance to an old-fashioned wagon wheel, it was previously studied by Hubble Space TelescopeBut Webb’s infrared look revealed a large number of previously unseen details in galaxystructure.
Infrared light, which is essentially heat, penetrates through dust clouds, allowing James Webb Space Telescope To look at regions of space that are obscured by optical telescopes, such as Hubble. In the new images, Webb tools NIRCam and Marydetect the individual stars Within the star-forming regions of the outer ring of the Cartwell Wheel Galaxy, as well as clusters of very young stars around the massive galactic center Black holewhich is also covered in dust.
Gallery: The first images of the James Webb Space Telescope
Cartwell, located about 500 million light years Far from Earth in the southern sky’s Sculptor constellation, it’s a very rare type of galaxy that astronomers call a ring galaxy. Scientists believe that long ago, the Kartwell wheel was popular spiral galaxysimilar to Milky Way. Then, about 700 to 800 million light years ago, it collided with a smaller galaxy.
The collision changed its shape and structure to what astronomers can see today, forming two ring-like structures, one surrounding the center of the galaxy and the other framing the entire galaxy. The two rings are expanding outward from the galactic center like “ripples in a puddle,” according to the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), which directs Webb and is based in Maryland, in statement (Opens in a new tab).
When the outer ring expands, it pushes the dust and gas surrounding the galaxy outward and leads to star formation, according to STScI. The regions where new stars are born appear as small blue dots in the image and are scattered throughout the galaxy, but are especially concentrated in the outer ring.
Webb’s observations also reveal regions rich in hydrocarbons and silicate dust, which form the wires that connect the inner and outer ring. STScI said earlier Hubble images could also distinguish the speaker, but Webb’s new notes make those features more noticeable.
The Cartwheel galaxy is still in a state of transformation as a result of its past collapse, and the new observations will help provide insights into its past and future evolution.