The James Webb Space Telescope captures the Bowser Wheel Galaxy in stunning colours

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A new image from the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) reveals the Cartwheel Galaxy in stunning detail.

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

The Cartwheel Galaxy is located about 500 million light-years away in the constellation Sculptor, next to two small companion galaxies.

Its chariot-shaped appearance is the result of a collision between a large spiral galaxy and a smaller, unpictured galaxy.

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Because of the colorful inner and outer rings extending from the center, astronomers call it a “ring galaxy.”

In essence: hot dust and star clusters.

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

A large, pink spotted galaxy resembling a wheel with a small inner oval, with a dusty blue in between on the right, with two smaller spiral galaxies roughly to the left on a black background.
(Credits: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI)

The near-infrared camera (NIRCam) imager looks in the near-infrared range from 0.6 to 5 microns.

It sees wavelengths of light that can reveal more stars.

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

This image from the Webb's Medium Infrared Infrared (MIRI) instrument shows a group of galaxies, including a large, distorted, ring-shaped galaxy known as the Cart Wheel.

This image from the Webb’s Medium Infrared Infrared (MIRI) instrument shows a group of galaxies, including a large, distorted, ring-shaped galaxy known as the Cart Wheel.
(Credits: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, Webb ERO Production Team)

“NIRCam also reveals the difference between the smooth distribution or shape of older star clusters and the dense dust in the core compared to the lumpy shapes associated with younger star clusters outside,” the agency said in a statement with the image.

The Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) reveals regions in the Kartwell wheel galaxy that form the spiral spokes more prominently.

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What looks a lot like rocky mountains on a moonlit evening is actually the edge of a nearby and young star-forming region NGC 3324 in the Carina Nebula.

What looks a lot like rocky mountains on a moonlit evening is actually the edge of a nearby and young star-forming region NGC 3324 in the Carina Nebula.
(Image: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI)

“Webb’s observations confirm that the Kartwell wheel is in a very transitional phase. The galaxy, which is assumed to be a normal spiral galaxy like the Milky Way before it collided, will continue to shift,” NASA said. “While Webb gives us a glimpse into the current state of the Cartwheel, it also provides insight into what happened to this galaxy in the past and how it will evolve in the future.”

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

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