September 29, 2023

Brighton Journal

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See thousands of stars in a galaxy 17 million light-years away captured by the James Webb Space Telescope

See thousands of stars in a galaxy 17 million light-years away captured by the James Webb Space Telescope

New images from the James Webb Space Telescope provide a glimpse of what the galaxy looks like 17 million light-years away. The images circulated on Friday are part of an “astronomy treasure trove” that focuses on collecting observations of star formation.

The “fine patterning of dust and bright star clusters” was found in NGC 5068NASA said it is a spiral galaxy about 17 million light-years from Earth. According to the telescope’s website, the galaxy is located in the constellation Virgo, and the latest images show it “like never before.”

The European Space Agency said one of the images shows what looks like a glowing white band pointing towards the galactic core.

The ESA description of the image reads: “Thousands and thousands of tiny stars that make up it can be seen, the most intense of them in a whitish band forming its core.” “Clumps and filaments of dust form a roughly skeletal structure that follows the curvature of the galaxy and its spiral arm. Large, glowing bubbles of red gas hide in the dust.”

In this image, from Webb’s MIRI instrument, the spiral galaxy’s dusty structure and glowing bubbles of gas containing newly formed star clusters stand out in particular.

ESA/Webb, NASA, CSA, J. Lee, and the PHANGS-JWST Team

Another image, taken by the MIRI telescope instrument, shows the galaxy with three asteroid tracks seen through “small blue, green and red dots”. NASA said that these asteroid tails did not actually fly across the galaxy. They only appear because they are “closer to the telescope than the distant target.”

“While Webb takes many pictures of the astronomical object, the asteroid is moving, so it appears in a slightly different place in each frame,” said the European Space Agency.

The agency said these galactic images are part of the mission to “create an astronomical treasure trove,” a “repository of observations of star formation in nearby galaxies.” Before Webb’s telescope, it was not possible to see the gas and dust surrounding newborn stars. But with the telescope’s unique instruments, NASA said astronomers can see “through NGC 5068’s giant dust clouds and capture star formation processes as they occurred.”

Having this burial is an attempt to help astronomers make more progress in star and space research.

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