The James Webb Space Telescope has revealed stunning new details of a previously known part of the universe 32 million light-years from Earth in an image released by NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA).
The infrared technology of the telescope, which was launched into space in December 2021, allowed a clearer view of the so-called Phantom Galaxy.
“Webb’s sharp vision revealed fine filaments of gas and dust in large spiral arms emerging from the center of this image,” NASA and the European Space Agency explained on Monday.
“The lack of gas in the central region provides a clearer view of the nuclear star cluster at the center of the galaxy,” the agencies said in a statement.
The rotating celestial figure, officially named M74, is located in the constellation Pisces, 32 million light-years from Earth.
The image of the Webb Telescope shows the galaxy in white, red, pink and light blue orbiting a bright blue center against a dark deep space background.
M74 was previously imaged by the Hubble Telescope, which captured the galaxy’s blue and pink spiral arms, but its center looked faint yellow.
NASA and the European Space Agency said the Phantom Galaxy is a “favorite target for astronomers studying the origin and structure of galactic spirals”.
The agencies said the image captured by the telescope will help “to learn more about the early stages of star formation in the local universe” and record more information about 19 star-forming galaxies near our Milky Way.
The image will be used by astronomers to “identify star-forming regions in galaxies, accurately measure the masses and ages of star clusters, and gain insight into the nature of the tiny dust grains that roam interstellar space,” the statement said.
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