A new video released by the European Space Agency (ESA), one of the James Webb Space Telescope program partners, takes you on a journey through the universe to the Galaxy car wheel (Galaxy of the Cartwheel). It lies about 500 million light-years from Earth and, thanks to the instruments of the telescope, appears in spectacular detail.
The video begins with a glimpse of the sky and zooms in until it reaches the galaxy and its neighbors, recorded across the Near-infrared camera (NIRCam) and mid-infrared (MIRI) instruments. Together they revealed details that would barely appear in individual images, arriving at the result below:
In the publication, ESA officials explain that this annular (ring-shaped) galaxy was photographed at a very transitional stage in its evolution — scientists believe that, in the past, it was a spiral type galaxybut appears to have collided about 800 million years ago with a smaller galaxy.
The process resulted in the formation of two rings: the outermost keeps gas and dust away from the region of the galaxy, while the other surrounds it. “What form the Car Wheel Galaxy will ultimately take, given these two competing forces, remains a mystery,” they said.
The sequence is incredible, and shows a little of what the James Webb telescope will be able to bring to scientists throughout their observations. Although it began science operations just a few weeks ago, the new observatory has already captured the deepest image of the universe to date, and the most distant galaxies already observed.
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